Healing the Social Fabric
This week's Democratic Club features award winning author and retired Presbyterian Pastor, Mike Bullard. According to Dr. Bullard, "Disasters are no longer rare, distant events. if they ever really were. Both human and natural phenomenon are increasing , and the number and frequency of such events make the healing of disaster a basic life-requirement for the ongoing health of any community."
Please join us this Friday, July 22 at the Iron Horse Bar and Grill, at 407 E Sherman Ave in Coeur d'Alene at 12:00 PM. Club meetings take place each Friday.
About Mike Bullard
As a member of the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance National Response team, he has been sent to several multi-fatality tornadoes, to the fires in Yarnell Arizona where 19 firefighters died and to wildfires in Washington and Idaho. His wife Betsy is starting in the same work. She has been to flood sites in Calgary Alberta and this spring in Louisiana.
Locally, Dr. Bullard chairs Inland Northwest VOAD or Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster. In that capacity he was Volunteer Liaison officer of Kootenai County Emergency Operations Center for last November windstorm and this spring’s Cascadia Rising Exercise. He organized long term recovery organizations to rehabilitate victims of micro-burst windstorms in Ferry County three years ago and Spokane County two years ago.
As a Red Cross volunteer he was surrounded by fire in Pateros Washington when that town burned two years ago.
Speaking from first hand experience on the ground he has seen FEMA and Homeland Security currently do an excellent job of what they are supposed to do. He says the same is true about the Red Cross. He has seen them in action, over and over and has been there with them.
The problem and the source of a great deal of anger directed toward those agencies is the frequent media assumption that they should do it all. The truth is that government has an important, limited role. We don't want it to be our mother and make it all better. And there is a limit to those things Red Cross can do and does well.
According to Dr. Bullard what is misunderstood is that the days of letting someone else handle it, and waiting for a need to send money are gone. That won't work today. It takes a whole community ready before the disaster. It takes government, including first responders and local emergency staff, sometimes with coordination and help from state and federal agencies, but also coordinated help from faith-based and other voluntary organizations and the business community, prepared and trained ahead of time to work together under one command system.
Besides disaster work Dr. Bullard sings in Opera CdA. His wife Betsy plays in the CdA symphony. They are avid tango, ballroom and Latin dancers and are working on a project in Ghana, West Africa as a continuation of her work years ago in the Peace Corps. Their son Harrison serves with the Coast Guard in Miami and son Daniel works in the music industry in Washington DC.
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Kootenai Democrats are the organizing committee for Democratic activities in Kootenai County.