Historic ACS Summit Held in Gladstone
The Adventist Community Services Disaster Response (ACSDR) network of North Pacific Union Conference (NPUC) held a historic first meeting with leadership of the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) of Canada at the Oregon Conference office in Gladstone, Oregon, April 9–10.
The meeting explored the current level of resources and communication that can be utilized for potential mutual aid and collaboration should a large scale disaster happen along the mutual borders of the Canadian Union Conference and the NPUC. Larry Mays, NPUC disaster response coordinator, organized the meeting with the assistance of Doug Venn, former NPUC disaster response coordinator. John Loor, NPUC secretariat, chaired the summit in the bilateral talks.
Ephraim Palmero, Adventist Community Services (ACS) Alaska director, provided a model for talking points and led a discussion on factors that will guide discussions toward implementing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between ACS and ADRA of Canada should a disaster affect our common borders. Palmero shared the vulnerability that Alaska has to being unable to acquire supplies for relief and recovery if a disaster, such as an earthquake or tsunami, strikes its seaports. It was concluded that a cross-border, mutual-aid MOU should be a viable tool for both ADRA of Canada and ACSDR to implement during a time of emergency.
Doug Venn was given recognition for unselfish volunteer leadership in disaster response for the years he served as the NPUC coordinator. He is now retired in Washington and continues to serve as an ACSDR liaison and area coordinator in the Upper Columbia Conference.
The high-profile meeting was attended by Emanuel Da Costa, ADRA International representative; Debra Brill, North American Division (NAD) vice president; Sung Kwon, ACS national director; Joe Watts, NAD ACS disaster response director; and Charlene Sargent, Pacific Union Conference ACSDR representative. ADRA of Canada was represented by Dragan Stojanovic, Canadian Union Conference secretary and ADRA chairman; James Astleford, ADRA International director; Theodore Sargeant, Ontario Conference disaster response director; and Larry Hall, Alberta Conference ACS director.