The Van Wert County Courthouse

Saturday, Jun. 3, 2023

YMCA, CERT help local disaster victims

VW independent/submitted information

The Van Wert County YMCA and Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) have joined together to bridge the gap between tragedy and recovery. 

Shown are (from the left) CERT Disaster Chairman Mark Klausing, Van Wert County Emergency Management Director Rick McCoy, and YMCA CEO Hugh Kocab with items donated for disaster victims. photo provided

The YMCA is much more than a swim and gym facility and has expanded its outreach over the past 15 years. New community initiatives that help the neediest and improve the quality of life fall directly into the YMCA’s mission to put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind, and body for all people in our community. 

The CERT staff is comprised of local volunteers that make up the disaster team. The team responds to house fires, provides ancillary support to the fire department, and assists victims with much needed support and direction. In addition, CERT responds to natural disasters like tornadoes, floods, high wind damage and other disaster situations. 

“The goal is to work collaboratively with CERT to provide a family-friendly Christian environment where recreational and swimming activities, showers, and a respite from the daily worries of putting a post-tragedy family life back together are possible,” said YMCA CEO Hugh Kocab.  

Once CERT volunteers respond to a tragedy, they will contact the YMCA and line up support for the family or families that have been impacted. 

“Access to the YMCA for these families in crisis will be a godsend for our community and those communities surrounding Van Wert as well,” said Van Wert County Emergency Management Director Rick McCoy.

The CERT team will evaluate the situation, contact the YMCA and, if needed, provide a case worker to support the fire victims. In addition to the YMCA facility and resource availability, the YMCA will also be providing refreshments for fire department personnel that are responding to the emergency. 

“It is a great community collaboration effort and it will certainly impact the quality of life for the families who suffer with the trauma of a house fire or other disaster,” said CERT Disaster Chairman Mark Klausing. 

The YMCA and CERT are both not-for-profit organizations that serve the community and are partially funded by the Van Wert County Foundation. 

POSTED: 02/27/21 at 12:11 am. FILED UNDER: News