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Savannah’s power team generates national recognition

Public Affairs Specialist
Published Dec. 9, 2015
Matthew Rorick (back), Jason Lavecchia (front) and Jimmy Luo of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Savannah District work to provide emergency power to areas surrounding Annville, Penn., in response to Superstorm Sandy. As part of the joint federal response led by FEMA, the Corps of Engineers currently has 69 FEMA mission assignments exceeding a total of $254 million.

Matthew Rorick (back), Jason Lavecchia (front) and Jimmy Luo of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Savannah District work to provide emergency power to areas surrounding Annville, Penn., in response to Superstorm Sandy. As part of the joint federal response led by FEMA, the Corps of Engineers currently has 69 FEMA mission assignments exceeding a total of $254 million.

Members of Savannah's emergency power team gather in front of the emergency operations center based in Annville, Penn. in late October 2012. The team mobilized as part of an interagency response to support the New York Engineer District in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.

Members of Savannah's emergency power team gather in front of the emergency operations center based in Annville, Penn. in late October 2012. The team mobilized as part of an interagency response to support the New York Engineer District in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.

Superior Unit Award winners for Hurricane Sandy response and recovery.

Superior Unit Award winners for Hurricane Sandy response and recovery.

SAVANNAH, Ga. — As the Northeast confronted the trauma of Superstorm Sandy in 2012, the Savannah District’s emergency power team mobilized as part of an interagency response to support the New York Engineer District and provide relief to the ravished region.

Nearly three years later, the crew of 15 volunteers earned the Superior Unit Award for supplying temporary power support to critical public facilities in Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

For two weeks, the team installed generators in communities stricken by disaster to ensure emergency services continued without interruption.

The team supported critical facilities such as hospitals performing life-threatening procedures, the state’s operation center conducting performing command and control operations and polling stations that allow voters to cast their ballots during a presidential election.

Aided by the Soldiers of the 249th Engineer Battalion who provided technical expertise and contractors from the Advanced Contracting initiative, the power team managed missions, taskings and logistics to complete a three-prong approach to creative engineering solutions.

And their efforts helped to revive the string of metropolitan areas that have reverberating economic effects on the rest of the nation, according to Peterson.

“You can’t do things without power,” said David Peterson, Emergency Management chief and power team lead. “When you see that [Corps] castle you know that things are going to get fixed.”

Savannah’s team is one of seven in the nation that are on-call for national disaster response. The reaction team pulls professionals from the district’s contracting, engineering, resource management, operations and construction divisions.

To learn more about volunteer opportunities, contact Dave Peterson at 912-652-5433.