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For immediate release - May 18, 2005

LASER initiative to pinpoint community needs

TAVARES — Representatives from the newly formed Lake and Sumter Emergency and Recovery (LASER) program presented itself Tuesday before the Lake County Board of County Commissioners.

LASER was incorporated as a not-for-profit organization about 60 days ago and strives to coordinate volunteer efforts during a disaster, similar to last year’s string of hurricanes.

Mike Tart, of the Southern Baptist Association, serves as chairman of the group and says LASER’s primary purpose is developing a mechanism to manage the flow of volunteers when communities in Lake and Sumter counties are severely impacted by a catastrophe. Instead of many volunteer organizations, such as the Salvation Army, Red Cross and United Way, converging on the two counties during a disaster, LASER will help to coordinate the groups so the volunteer efforts are efficient and utilized where the need is the greatest.

“It’s all the volunteer groups coming under one hat,” Tart said. “What this is going to bring is not just more volunteer coordination, but in the long term it will allow groups like the Red Cross to touch the local community more effectively.”

A strong supporter of the program is Jerry Smith, Director of the Lake County Emergency Management Division.

“This is an offshoot of a need that was discovered when the local Federal Emergency Management Agency Board met to disperse local funds,” he said. “All the organizations involved are a vital part of our community.”

For more information about LASER, call Tart at (352) 267-3800 or e-mail toptart01@aol.com.

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Contact information:
Christopher Patton
Communications Coordinator
Office: (352) 343-9609; Cell: (352) 455-0445
cpatton@co.lake.fl.us

 
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