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P.O. Box 7800
Tavares, Florida 32778

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Lake County EOC announces 'Groundhog Hero of the week'

RELEASE DATE: February 23, 2007

TAVARES – Nearly 500 volunteers locally and around the country have pitched in to help Lake County recover from the devastating Feb. 2 tornadoes. Below is the story of one of these volunteers.

The Lake County Emergency Operations Center would like to thank this volunteer and every other individual lending a hand to help the communities of Lady Lake and Lake Mack.

NAME: Rob Crawford

AGE: 32

HOMETOWN: Burlington, Wash.

EXPERIENCE: 7 ½ years with the Washington Conservation Corps, an AmeriCorps Program
FAMILY: Wife Shayla, 4-year-old son Ryan and 1-year-old daughter Kaitlyn


The past few years Ryan Crawford has had to say goodbye to his family to help victims of disasters in Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi. From Orlando to the Panhandle to Gainesville, Crawford helped supervise a crew of six AmeriCorps individuals cutting down trees and removing debris after the hurricanes of Charley, Frances, Jeanne and Ivan in 2004. He didn’t get much rest as he once again deployed for two separate months to Mississippi and New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

“It’s tough to be away from family,” he said. “I talk to them every night, but it’s not the same. My wife’s been a good supporter and that’s definitely important. My crew is also a tight-knit bunch and that really helps.”

Crawford was deployed to Lake County on Feb. 8 and will be returning home on March 8. He has been from Lady Lake to Lake Mack to DeLand assisting residents with debris removal, applying tarps to damaged roofs and using chainsaws to cut down damaged trees.

“The people here have been really appreciative and helpful,” he said. “I decided to join the emergency response crew because it is something new and exciting. I keep telling my wife I’m just doing it one more year, but it keeps challenging me.” 


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Public Information Coordinator
Office: 352-343-9603; Cell: 352-455-0445

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