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Tavares, Florida 32778


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LASER is collecting donations for long-term recovery

RELEASE DATE: February 20, 2007

TAVARES – As the tornado-impacted communities of Lake County begin to prepare for long-term recovery efforts, the recently established Lake and Sumter Emergency Recovery (LASER) coalition is stepping up to the plate to lead the charge.

“It will take many more months, even years, before the Lady Lake and Lake Mack communities reach some sort of semblance of what life was like on Feb. 1,” said Jerry Smith. “The Lake County Board of County Commissioners has recognized LASER as a program able to assist Lake County with organizing the volunteer efforts of charitable organizations, volunteer agencies and religious associations.”

LASER is currently organizing a team of caseworkers to determine the long-term needs of families impacted by the two tornadoes that struck Lake County on Groundhog Day, Feb. 2. In the meantime, LASER is accepting monetary donations and in-kind services for the massive rebuilding project that lies ahead.

“When the day comes when the all the debris is removed and the dust settles, we want to be ready to hit the ground running with enough resources,” said Michael Tart, chairman of LASER. “The rebuilding process will be a long-term need. It'll take at least 18 to 24 months to get these people back at a comfort level because many have lost everything."

LASER was incorporated as a not-for-profit organization in March 2005 and strives to coordinate long-term recovery efforts following a disaster. The coalition’s primary purpose is developing a mechanism to manage the flow of volunteers and donations when communities in Lake and Sumter counties are severely impacted by a catastrophe. LASER’s vice chairman is Charlotte Poss from Sumter County.

To make a monetary donation to LASER, mail checks payable to Lake County BCC (check note: LASER) to P.O. Box 1985, Lady Lake, FL 32158. The County is involved in the process to provide LASER with financial accountability and oversight.

LASER is also currently accepting donations for construction materials and supplies, donated labor from skilled construction trades. For more information about making donations, call the Lake County Citizens Information Line at (352) 343-9732. For more information about LASER, call the Lake County Citizens Information Line and leave a message for Michael Tart.

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Lake County media contact:
Communications Department
Public Information Coordinator
Office: 352-343-9603; Cell: 352-455-0445
klafollette@lakecountyfl.gov

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