The North Florida Inland Long Term Recovery Group works to coordinate recovery services and build resiliency for individuals, families and entities adversely impacted by the 2018 Hurricane Michael in Calhoun and Jackson counties.
To ensure that all aspects of the recovery and resiliency mission are covered, the group has established 10 committees to address the various aspects. Meetings of those subcommittees have already started.
And the LTR Group has a general meeting of the full organization on Feb. 28, 10-11:30 a.m., at Rivertown Community Church in Marianna. In the general LTR meetings, each committee’s spokesperson is given time to brief the full board on its most recent activities and efforts.
Kevin Yoder, who helped in the organization of the LTR, is charged with coordinating the activities of all 10 committees. He explained his role, saying he tries to help them make sure they’re focused, working together and pushing forward in their tasks.
“The majority of the recovery and resiliency work is being done at the committee level, so it’s very important that they stay on task,” Yoder said. “If I can help them in any way to stay the course, I’m honored to do that.”
Pointing out that the committee members are busy people who have a lot on their plates as individuals with family lives and professions to take care of as well in the aftermath of the storm, Yoder praised their willingness to step up and take on these roles for the good of their communities.
“We’re working to try to make sure there is good communication between the committees, as well,” Yoder said. “Part of that is sharing with each other at these general meetings we try to have twice a month.”
The LTR Group met several times in formative sessions, staring in November, to get up and running, and officially put itself together in mid-January.
One of the things most committees are still working on is identifying the needs in their specific areas of focus, and trying to find ways to get their messages out to the world beyond Jackson and Calhoun counties. There’s a sense, Yoder said, that Hurricane Michael and the scope of its destruction are getting lost in the shuffle as the nation and the state deal with other crises.
At the forefront of that effort to keep hurricane recovery needs in focus is the marketing/media committee, headed by Kristy Terry of the Calhoun County Chamber of Commerce.
And Jackson County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Tiffany Garling is doing her part in that effort as well. She is among a group of local leaders who have been attending Florida legislative committee meetings since those began a few weeks ago in preparation for the legislative session that begins March 5 in Tallahassee.
Garling also chairs the LTR Group’s Economic and Business Committee. The Economic and Business Committee, focuses on helping those sectors return to a health state and to develop new business and employment opportunities that result in an economically viable community.
It next meets on Thursday, Feb. 21 at 9 a.m.in Room Six at RCC, located at 4534 Lafayette Street in Marianna. The LTR School Committee meets that same day, also at 9 a.m., at the Jackson County School Board office at 2903 Jefferson Street in Marianna.
Garling, Terry, Yoder and others involved in the LTR are also working together in organizing an April 27 resource fair, inviting many state and federal agencies, non-profits and other organizations to be part of the event. It is expected to last about five hours and will be held at the agriculture center on Penn Avenue in Marianna. Planning is still underway but the goal is to get as many resources here as possible to interact with as many local people as possible so that individuals can convey their specific needs and get some guidance on how to get the help they need.
Visit the LTR Group at www.northfloridarecovery.org.
LTR committees and their chairpersons are listed below:
Doug Mayo: Agriculture and Forestry
Shareta Wright: Unmet Needs
Tiffany Garling: Economic and Business
Wilanne Daniels: Local Government
Rick Pettis: Housing and Construction
Matthew Montgomery: Volunteers
Coba Beasley: Emotional and Spiritual
Angela Klopf: Fundraising
Michael Kilts: Schools
Kristy Terry: Marketing/Media.