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September 17, 2013

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. (AFNS) — With more than a 1,000 people unaccounted for and communities still damaged from flooding, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, staged out of Buckley Air Force Base, Colo., continues providing life-essential materials to Coloradans in need.

FEMA began staging its operations out of Buckley Sept. 14 after Gov. John Hickenlooper declared a national emergency and President Barack Obama approved federal support. Since then, FEMA has sent out nearly 50 trucks loaded with meals, water, cots and blankets, as well as many other needed materials. In addition, they have assembled 10 mobile communications office vehicles to help set up disaster centers in affected areas.

FEMA employees have been working non-stop operations since they set up at Buckley.

“We are doing 24-hour ops and never shutting down,” explained Terry Bryant, FEMA ground support unit lead. “We are staying until the job gets done, and we will do whatever it takes.”

This sentiment is echoed amongst FEMA representatives at Buckley, who have orchestrated the shipment of more than 60,000 liters of water and 55,000 meals over 3 days.

“This is very important to the citizens of Colorado who have been impacted by the floods to get emergency assistance as they try to get reconstituted back into their homes and businesses,” said Ernest Hudson, initial support base leader for the FEMA national delta team. “We will provide them with whatever they need until they can get back on their feet.”

Throughout the disaster that has claimed seven lives thus far, Team Buckley has opened its gates and offered space and resources to FEMA.

“It’s heartbreaking to hear of the lives lost due to flooding throughout the state, and it’s tragic to see the many families uprooted because their homes and livelihoods were in the path of the floods,” said Col. Dan Wright, 460th Space Wing commander. “We are a part of the Colorado community, as well, and are assisting where we can. Currently, we are hosting professionals with FEMA and the Army Corps of Engineers, and we will continue to provide assistance as we deal with this historic event.”

While accommodating the federal agency, Team Buckley has provided everything possible to FEMA to ease the burden on the people of Colorado as more than 1,500 homes have been lost in multiple counties.

“The support we have got here at Buckley has been absolutely superb,” Hudson said. “Every request we have made, they complied with. They have given us space for our trucks, security forces, and they come by everyday and check to see if we need anything.”

In a disaster of this magnitude, FEMA Corps is also lending a hand by checking logistics and inventorying trucks. Because the home campus is based out of Denver, this recovery effort hits close to home for FEMA Corps representatives.

“I’ve been to the areas affected and know the community. This is where we did our training and took some of our breaks. It awesome that we can help the immediate area that we are based out of,” said Megan Long, FEMA Corps logistics specialist team member.

Major flood relief efforts became necessary after up to 15 inches of rain fell along the Front Range causing flash flooding, according to weather services.