Governor Peter Shumlin today announced his support for the Vermont Long Term Disaster Recovery Group (VLTDRG), a body that is central to long term recovery efforts relating to natural disasters in Vermont. The Group is responsible for providing financial and resource-based needs to individuals who need assistance beyond what Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) or insurance companies can provide through in-kind donations, volunteer resources and the Vermont Disaster Relief Fund. ‘This is the only statewide non-profit exclusively dedicated to disaster relief,’ said Governor Shumlin. ‘The Vermont Long Term Disaster Recovery Group will help to fill the gap for individuals who need the most help rebuilding their lives.’ The Group evolved from a coalition of Vermont public, private and non-profit sector organizations that first convened in the spring of 2011 for the purpose of establishing an ongoing framework for providing long term disaster relief for Vermonters. That coalition, known as Vermont Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) included, among others, the United Ways of Vermont, Inc, Vermont Emergency Management (VEM), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the American Red Cross of Vermont and the New Hampshire Valley. The Vermont Long Term Disaster Recovery Group consists of three appointees by the governor and three appointees by Vermont Organizations Active in Disaster. The six appointees will elect three additional board members at-large. The Board includes an experienced economic advisor, a state representative, a nationally recognized journalist, a natural disaster recovery expert, a volunteer firefighter and pastor, and an advocate in case management. They are: Chairman David Coates of Colchester. Coates will chair the Vermont Long Term Disaster Recovery Group and is a Governor’s appointee. Coates is a Director of National Life Group and was elected to the Board in 1993. He is a retired managing partner of KPMG’s Burlington, Vermont, office. Coates is a Director of Green Mountain Power Corp., A.N. Deringer, Inc., Union Mutual Fire Insurance Company Advisory Committee, Vermont Electric Power Company (VELCO), and the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation (VSAC). He was elected as the Vermont Chamber’s Citizen of the Year in August of 2003. He is a member of the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisors, the Vermont Debt Affordability Advisory Committee, the Vermont Municipal Bond Bank and the American Institute of CPAs. Vice-Chair Bill Elwell of Bristol. Elwell will vice-chair the Vermont Long Term Disaster Recovery Group. Elwell is a United Methodist Pastor serving in Bristol/Monkton. He served as Chair of Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD). Elwell has served as a volunteer firefighter, including as a Chief, for 26 years in North Bennington and Bristol. He currently serves as the Chaplain of the Vermont State Firefighters Association. Chris Graff of Montpelier. Graff is a vice president of National Life Group and was appointed to the VLTDRG by the Governor. He is a former journalist with The Associated Press and the author of Dateline Vermont, a memoir of his 30 years in journalism. For 15 years, Chris hosted Vermont This Week, a public affairs program on Vermont Public Television. He is a contributing editor of Vermont Business Magazine, a trustee of Vermont College of Fine Arts and a director of the Vermont Historical Society. He served on the Council on the Future of Vermont and the Commission on the Future of Vermont’s Justice System. He is a resident of Montpelier. Ann Manwaring of Wilmington. Manwaring is a Vermont State Representative in Windham County, District 2 and was appointed to the VLTDRG by the Governor. She is a retired small business owner who founded and ran a small business for 23 years which emphasized family friendly policies. She was educated at Ohio Wesleyan University, Delaware, Ohio (B.A. Economics, 1962); Marlboro college Tech Center, Brattleboro, VT (M.S. in Internet Strategy, 2001). Affiliations: Select person, Wilmington, 12 years, Chair, 3 years; Vermont League of Cities and Towns, Board member, 9 years, President, 1 year; Wilmington budget Committee; Wilmington Planning Commission, Windham Regional Commission, Wilmington Charter Committee, Chair; Facilities Committee, Twin Valley Schools, Chair (Merged middle and high schools of Wilmington and Whitingham); Brattleboro Area Community Land Trust, Board Member; Mount Snow Valley Chamber of Commerce, Board member. Member of the House: 2007-2012. Laurie Hurdle of Washington. Hurdle is member of the VOAD coalition, representing the Southern Baptist Convention. Through Vermont’s spring and summer flooding disasters, she has focused on managing the logistics of housing and feeding volunteers. Mary Ellen Mendl of Colchester. Mendl is currently executive director of Vermont ‘ 211, a United Way project, and serves as vice-chair of the Vermont VOAD. By virtue of her role in the United Way, she has substantial knowledge of Vermont’s non-profit service providers, and has served as a communications hub between and among agencies. She was instrumental in the establishment of the Vermont Disaster Relief Fund, which is the fund to support the VLTRG’s work. ‘With the knowledge that climate change has caused two natural disasters in the past nine months, we need to use this as an example and be prepared for Vermont’s future,’ said Governor Shumlin. ‘This collaboration brings together on-the-ground experience with an administrative and fundraising team that will address disaster survivors growing needs throughout the entire recovery process.’ The Vermont Long Term Disaster Recovery Group has already begun to work on disaster recovery efforts. Through the Vermont Disaster Relief Fund the VLTDRG has raised 1.3 million dollars. Vermonters can donate to this effort through the Vermont Disaster Relief Fund by calling 1-800-VERMONT or by going to www.vermont211.org(link is external).