January 13, 2005: Headlines: COS - Sri Lanka: People Magazine: Tsunami: Fauquier Citizen: Sri Lanka RPCV Tammie Willcuts' humanitarian work put her in People magazine this week

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Sri Lanka: Peace Corps Sri Lanka: The Peace Corps in Sri Lanka: January 13, 2005: Headlines: COS - Sri Lanka: People Magazine: Tsunami: Fauquier Citizen: Sri Lanka RPCV Tammie Willcuts' humanitarian work put her in People magazine this week

By Admin1 (admin) (pool-141-157-13-244.balt.east.verizon.net - on Saturday, January 15, 2005 - 12:25 pm: Edit Post

Sri Lanka RPCV Tammie Willcuts' humanitarian work put her in People magazine this week

Sri Lanka RPCV Tammie Willcuts' humanitarian work put her in People magazine this week

Sri Lanka RPCV Tammie Willcuts' humanitarian work put her in People magazine this week

Local couple aids tsunami victims

Staff Photo/Chris Moorhead
A People magazine photographer found Warrenton's Tammie Willcuts coloring with Sri Lankan orphans.

By Eric Beidel - Staff Writer

A Warrenton resident's humanitarian work put her in People magazine this week.

Hours after a tsunami swept away more than 150,000 lives in Southeast Asia, Tammie Willcuts, 34, boarded a plane for Sri Lanka. Her husband, Stu, followed a week later, forgoing a planned meeting with President George W. Bush and Secretary of Defense Colin Powell.

Mrs. Willcuts works for Save the Children, one of the world's largest non-governmental organizations. For the past three weeks, she has provided emergency services to people in Sri Lanka.

She sets up programs to ensure people receive food, clothing, blankets, mattresses or whatever they need.

More than 33,000 families lost their homes in the Matara region, where she stays in "a tiny little place." Children are most vulnerable, Mrs. Willcuts said in a telephone interview Wednesday.

Her sister scanned in a copy of the picture in People magazine and sent it to her last week via e-mail. It depicts Mrs. Willcuts coloring with children in an orphanage.

She spent two weeks on the east coast of the island before heading south to Matara. She spent four days in the capital city of Colombo with her husband, stationed there with Air Serv, a relief organization based in Fauquier.

Mrs. Willcuts spent 1994 to 1996 in Sri Lanka as part of the Peace Corps. She speaks the language, Singhala, fluently.

She frequently goes to disaster areas. Mrs. Willcuts has worked in the Balkans, the Middle East, Jamaica and Africa. When she can stay in Warrenton, she volunteers with the local Red Cross.

Mr. Willcuts, 54, is president and CEO of Air Serv, a nonprofit agency that uses planes and helicopters to help those in dire situations. Air Serv pilots transport doctors, nurses and assessment teams to isolated areas so they can do their jobs. The agency operates from an office in New Baltimore.

Mr. Willcuts spoke Monday from Sri Lanka about the destruction and heartbreak spawned by the tsunami.

"It's incredible that this happened in the space of 20 minutes," he said. "I walk down the street and see the pain in people's eyes. What can you do except give them a hug?"

The Willcuts met in 1998, while providing aid to families left homeless by a war in Azerbaijan. Mr. Willcuts proposed a year later in a refugee camp in Kosovo.

"I took her up to the top of a mountain in Albania," he said of the proposal. "Lucky me, she said yes."

The couple married in Mrs. Willcuts' hometown of Sioux Falls, S.D.

The Willcuts spent most of November and December at home in Warrenton, enjoying a quiet Thanksgiving and Christmas. Most of the time, though, they catch sporadic moments with each other in distant lands.

"They've dedicated their lives to caring for disillusioned people who wouldn't get help otherwise," said Air Serv's chief pilot Kurt Neuenschwander. "They do spend time together here in Warrenton, just not during emergencies."

Mr. Neuenschwander filled in for Mr. Willcuts when President Bush met with several non-governmental organization representatives on Monday.

"He just asked questions and thanked us," the pilot said.

Mr. Willcuts heads to Indonesia on Jan. 14. Mrs. Willcuts will either follow or remain in Sri Lanka, depending on where she is needed.

When this story was posted in January 2005, this was on the front page of PCOL:

Coleman: Peace Corps mission and expansion Date: January 8 2005 No: 373 Coleman: Peace Corps mission and expansion
Senator Norm Coleman, Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee that oversees the Peace Corps, says in an op-ed, A chance to show the world America at its best: "Even as that worthy agency mobilizes a "Crisis Corps" of former Peace Corps volunteers to assist with tsunami relief, I believe an opportunity exists to rededicate ourselves to the mission of the Peace Corps and its expansion to touch more and more lives."
RPCVs active in new session of Congress Date: January 8 2005 No: 374 RPCVs active in new session of Congress
In the new session of Congress that begins this week, RPCV Congressman Tom Petri has a proposal to bolster Social Security, Sam Farr supported the objection to the Electoral College count, James Walsh has asked for a waiver to continue heading a powerful Appropriations subcommittee, Chris Shays will no longer be vice chairman of the Budget Committee, and Mike Honda spoke on the floor honoring late Congressman Robert Matsui.

January 8, 2005: This Week's Top Stories Date: January 8 2005 No: 367 January 8, 2005: This Week's Top Stories
Zambia RPCV Karla Berg interviews 1,374 people on Peace 7 Jan
Breaking Taboo, Mandela Says Son Died of AIDS 6 Jan
Dreadlocked PCV raises eyebrows in Africa 6 Jan
RPCV Jose Ravano directs CARE's efforts in Sri Lanka 6 Jan
Persuading Retiring Baby Boomers to Volunteer 6 Jan
Inventor of "Drown Proofing" retires 6 Jan
NPCA Membership approves Board Changes 5 Jan
Timothy Shriver announces "Rebuild Hope Fund" 5 Jan
More Water Bottles, Fewer Bullets 4 Jan
Poland RPCV Rebecca Parker runs Solterra Books 2 Jan
Peace Corps Fund plans event for September 30 Dec
RPCV Carmen Bailey recounts bout with cerebral malaria 28 Dec
more top stories...

RPCVs and Peace Corps provide aid  Date: January 4 2005 No: 366 Latest: RPCVs and Peace Corps provide aid
Peace Corps made an appeal last week to all Thailand RPCV's to consider serving again through the Crisis Corps and more than 30 RPCVs have responded so far. RPCVs: Read what an RPCV-led NGO is doing about the crisis an how one RPCV is headed for Sri Lanka to help a nation he grew to love. Question: Is Crisis Corps going to send RPCVs to India, Indonesia and nine other countries that need help?
The World's Broken Promise to our Children Date: December 24 2004 No: 345 The World's Broken Promise to our Children
Former Director Carol Bellamy, now head of Unicef, says that the appalling conditions endured today by half the world's children speak to a broken promise. Too many governments are doing worse than neglecting children -- they are making deliberate, informed choices that hurt children. Read her op-ed and Unicef's report on the State of the World's Children 2005.
Changing of the Guard Date: December 15 2004 No: 330 Changing of the Guard
With Lloyd Pierson's departure, Marie Wheat has been named acting Chief of Staff and Chief of Operations responsible for the day-to-day management of the Peace Corps. Although Wheat is not an RPCV and has limited overseas experience, in her two years at the agency she has come to be respected as someone with good political skills who listens and delegates authority and we wish her the best in her new position.
Our debt to Bill Moyers Our debt to Bill Moyers
Former Peace Corps Deputy Director Bill Moyers leaves PBS next week to begin writing his memoir of Lyndon Baines Johnson. Read what Moyers says about journalism under fire, the value of a free press, and the yearning for democracy. "We have got to nurture the spirit of independent journalism in this country," he warns, "or we'll not save capitalism from its own excesses, and we'll not save democracy from its own inertia."
RPCV safe after Terrorist Attack RPCV safe after Terrorist Attack
RPCV Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley, the U.S. consul general in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia survived Monday's attack on the consulate without injury. Five consular employees and four others were killed. Abercrombie-Winstanley, the first woman to hold the position, has been an outspoken advocate of rights for Arab women and has met with Saudi reformers despite efforts by Saudi leaders to block the discussions.
Is Gaddi Leaving? Is Gaddi Leaving?
Rumors are swirling that Peace Corps Director Vasquez may be leaving the administration. We think Director Vasquez has been doing a good job and if he decides to stay to the end of the administration, he could possibly have the same sort of impact as a Loret Ruppe Miller. If Vasquez has decided to leave, then Bob Taft, Peter McPherson, Chris Shays, or Jody Olsen would be good candidates to run the agency. Latest: For the record, Peace Corps has no comment on the rumors.
The Birth of the Peace Corps The Birth of the Peace Corps
UMBC's Shriver Center and the Maryland Returned Volunteers hosted Scott Stossel, biographer of Sargent Shriver, who spoke on the Birth of the Peace Corps. This is the second annual Peace Corps History series - last year's speaker was Peace Corps Director Jack Vaughn.

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Story Source: Fauquier Citizen

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Sri Lanka; People Magazine; Tsunami



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