September 19, 2005: Headlines: COS - Paraguay: Hurricane Relief: MetroWest Daily News: Paraguay RPCV Oliver Dick helps in Louisiana

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Paraguay: Peace Corps Paraguay: The Peace Corps in Paraguay: September 19, 2005: Headlines: COS - Paraguay: Hurricane Relief: MetroWest Daily News: Paraguay RPCV Oliver Dick helps in Louisiana

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Paraguay RPCV Oliver Dick helps in Louisiana

Paraguay RPCV Oliver Dick helps in Louisiana

Peace Corps Director Gaddi Vasquez said last week more than 100 Crisis Corps volunteers have been sent to Louisiana and nearby states.

Paraguay RPCV Oliver Dick helps in Louisiana

Local Peace Corps volunteer helps in Louisiana

By Claudia Torrens / Daily News Staff

Monday, September 19, 2005

Oliver Dick didn't think about flying to Louisiana when he first saw the impacting images of the disaster left in Hurricane Katrina's wake.

But when the Peace Corps e-mailed him offering the opportunity, the Framingham resident didn't think twice.

"It was the right time for me," he said in a telephone interview from a small town close to Baton Rouge. "I thought I could provide some help."

Dick, 33, who just bought a condo on Kendall Avenue in Framingham, has been in the southern state since Sept. 8, assisting in the areas damaged by the hurricane. This is the first time in the Peace Corps' 44-year history volunteers have been sent to work domestically. And Dick is the only Peace Corps volunteer from Massachusetts to have been sent to the area.

As a member of the Crisis Corps team, the Framingham resident first arrived in Orlando, Fla., where he completed some training with the computer program of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. He then traveled to Baton Rouge where he sleeps in a tent camp specially set up for FEMA and Peace Corps volunteers.

"The camp is pretty good; all tents have air conditioning," he said after a long day near the Disaster Recovery Center, in a small town near Baton Rouge.

Dick has been assisting people by informing them about nearby shelters, filling out application for loans and directing them to the right places to go. He said he also helps people who need the $2,000 FEMA is offering to those who are eligible.

"Many of them have nothing," he said. "It's surprising how they all are very nice people considering they lost all they had."

The Baton Rouge area has not been as severely affected by the hurricane as others, said Dick, and although he could see some trees destroyed and some buildings with no roof, it was not comparable to images seen on television.

Things, however, are not as Dick predicted.

"Nobody is making decisions here. I feel nobody is connecting, there are no lines of communication between volunteer organizations," he said. "It's kind of frustrating."

He explained how a group of volunteers was supposed to set up trailers as a provisional way for people with no housing to live in, but so far, nobody has information about that program.

"They have told us to answer that 'We don't know about that' if anybody asks about the trailers," said Dick. "This is poorly organized. Even small things don't get done."

Dick said volunteers in the area give out phone numbers that don't work and many don't know exactly how they can offer any help. An average of 200 people a day go to the Disaster Recovery Center looking for assistance, said Dick.

Peace Corps Director Gaddi Vasquez said last week more than 100 Crisis Corps volunteers have been sent to Louisiana and nearby states.

"The magnitude of this very tragic situation is something we had never seen and that required unprecedented response," said Vasquez. "So many people have lost their belongings. The role of volunteers becomes critical to help those people get back on their feet."

This is not the first time Dick has volunteered with the Peace Corps.

The local resident worked in Paraguay from 1995 to 1997 as a small enterprise volunteer, where he helped build housing and cooperatives. He holds a master's degree from the University of North Texas and has lived in Framingham for more than a year, he said.

"Although there are better ways of doing this, I would have come here anyway if I knew it was going to be like this," Dick said.

Dick will return to Framingham Oct. 7 or 8.

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

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Peace Corps Online The Independent News Forum serving Returned Peace Corps Volunteers
Returned Volunteers respond to Hurricane Katrina Date: September 4 2005 No: 725 Returned Volunteers respond to Hurricane Katrina
First and foremost, Give. Carol Bellamy says "In situations such as this one, money is needed the most" and added that Hurricane Katrina's impact on New Orleans is comparable to last year's tsunami. Thailand RPCV Thomas Tighe's Direct Relief International has committed an initial $250,000 in cash to assist hurricane victims. Mayor Tom Murphy (RPCV Paraguay) says Pittsburgh is ready to embrace refugees from devastated areas. Mark Shriver of Save the Children says it will assist rural communities it serves in rebuilding. Brazil RPCV Robert Backus is among the first Vermont doctors to volunteer to travel to Louisiana to treat victims. Ohio Governor Bob Taft (RPCV Tanzania) says students displaced by "Katrina" can enroll in Ohio Colleges and Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle (RPCV Tunisia) is sending soldiers to help residents of Louisiana. Do you know what it means to lose New Orleans? Contact your local Red Cross to Volunteer.

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Military Option sparks concerns Date: August 23 2005 No: 714 Military Option sparks concerns
The U.S. military, struggling to fill its voluntary ranks, is allowing recruits to meet part of their reserve military obligations after active duty by serving in the Peace Corps. Read why there is opposition to the program among RPCVs. Director Vasquez says the agency has a long history of accepting qualified applicants who are in inactive military status. John Coyne says "Not only no, but hell no!" and RPCV Chris Matthews leads the debate on "Hardball." Latest: Avi Spiegel says Peace Corps is not the place for soldiers while Coleman McCarthy says to Welcome Soldiers to the Peace Corps. RPCVs: Read our poll results.

Why blurring the lines puts PCVs in danger Date: August 25 2005 No: 717 Why blurring the lines puts PCVs in danger
When the National Call to Service legislation was amended to include Peace Corps in December of 2002, this country had not yet invaded Iraq and was not in prolonged military engagement in the Middle East, as it is now. Read the story of how one volunteer spent three years in captivity from 1976 to 1980 as the hostage of a insurrection group in Colombia in Joanne Marie Roll's op-ed on why this legislation may put soldier/PCVs in the same kind of danger.

Upcoming Events: Peace Corps Fund in NYC Date: August 20 2005 No: 710 Upcoming Events: Peace Corps Fund in NYC
Peace Corps Fund announces Sept 29 Fund Raiser in NYC
High Atlas Foundation Hosts a Reception in NYC on Sept 15
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"Artists and Patrons in Traditional African Cultures" in NY thru Sept 30
See RPCV Musical "Doing Good" in CA through Sept
"Iowa in Ghana" at "The Octogan" in Ames through October 7
RPCV Film Festival in DC in October
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Top Stories: August 20, 2005 Date: August 20 2005 No: 711 Top Stories: August 20, 2005
Jack Crandall writes "Memories relished by WWII Generation"
Cris Groenendaal plays Phantom of Opera on Broadway 19 Aug
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Robert Brown to head Southeast Asian Studies at UCLA 19 Aug
Peter McPherson to head national university association 19 Aug
Len Flier says US has lose-lose scenario in Iraq 18 Aug
Ruth DeMaio sends aid to Niger 18 Aug
Bob Taft pleads no contest to ethics law violation 18 Aug
Antoinette Allen is Field Hockey coach at Hun School 16 Aug
Tony Hall Avoids Mugabe on Zimbabwe trip 14 Aug
Peace Corps Receives 2005 Medgar Evers Award 10 Aug
Jeff Wray is filming "The Soul Searchers" 10 Aug
40th anniversary of Shriver's Foster Grandparent Program 9 Aug
Tom Petri writes "It's not just about highways" 9 Aug
Terry Dougherty brings students from Afghanistan to US 8 Aug
Chris Newhall is leading volcano scientist 5 Aug
Douglas Biklen appointed dean at Syracuse University 5 Aug
Greg Kovalchuk and Mike Kelly Find Rare Fossil 4 Aug
Edward O'Toole salvages furniture for schools in Honduras 3 Aug
Gary Mount is Apple Grower Of The Year 1 Aug

The Peace Corps Library Date: March 27 2005 No: 536 The Peace Corps Library
Peace Corps Online is proud to announce that the Peace Corps Library is now available online. With over 30,000 index entries in 500 categories, this is the largest collection of Peace Corps related stories in the world. From Acting to Zucchini, you can find hundreds of stories about what RPCVs with your same interests or from your Country of Service are doing today. If you have a web site, support the "Peace Corps Library" and link to it today.

Friends of the Peace Corps 170,000  strong Date: April 2 2005 No: 543 Friends of the Peace Corps 170,000 strong
170,000 is a very special number for the RPCV community - it's the number of Volunteers who have served in the Peace Corps since 1961. It's also a number that is very special to us because March is the first month since our founding in January, 2001 that our readership has exceeded 170,000. And while we know that not everyone who comes to this site is an RPCV, they are all "Friends of the Peace Corps." Thanks everybody for making PCOL your source of news for the Returned Volunteer community.

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Story Source: MetroWest Daily News

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Paraguay; Hurricane Relief


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