Denver EDS team keeps busy

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Team participates in flood exercise and troop deployment.

by Roger Miller –

The Denver EDS team participates in a flood preparedness exercise in Boulder, Colo. [Photo by Roger Miller]

The staff and volunteers of The Salvation Army’s metro Denver Emergency and Disaster Service (EDS) teams recently participated in a flood preparedness exercise for the city of Boulder, Colo., and a couple of days later supported the deployment of more than 400 soldiers in Aurora, Colo.

At the first event—in a freezing drizzle—three canteens participated in a flood exercise that included nearly 400 emergency personnel and “survivors.” In addition to the canteens, Mike Gelski, metro Denver EDS director, utilized a communication van and portable radio tower, with SATERN volunteers using their ham radios, aided in the exercise scenario from their vantage point on the campus of the University of Colorado.

Two days later, EDS volunteers and canteens supported the send-off of the 3rd Battalion, 157th Field Artillery of the Colorado Army National Guard, based in Colorado Springs. The troops left from Buckley AFB in Aurora. They were scheduled to depart in four-hour increments, beginning at 8 a.m. and lasting to late in the afternoon.

This was the largest deployment of the Colorado Army National Guard since World War II, when the 157th helped liberate the Nazi concentration camp in Dachau, Germany.

Sherry Manson—financial development director from the Intermountain Division and a CISM (Critical Incident Stress Management) volunteer—talked to numerous soldiers and their families. Many tears were shed. A father of one of the soldiers—a Viet Nam vet—told Manson that The Salvation Army was there for his deployment to that war and now was here for his son’s deployment. The Army’s presence meant a lot to him.

The volunteer crews served nearly 300 meals with bottled water, sport drinks and juices along with assorted snack items. Soldiers also received refreshments to take on the plane with them. The EDS crews are looking forward to being there again upon the unit’s return in about 12 months.

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