WAUSAU - Just in time for the holiday season - also during one of the most critical times for area residents - one organization made a contribution that will make a local difference.
On Monday, Resource Development Specialist Angela Klopf presented a $5,000 check on behalf of the United Way of Northwest Florida to the Long-Term Recovery Organization (LTRO), located in Washington County.
LTRO representative Gabe Tischler accepted the contribution.
"All of our member organizations and nation-wide partners are doing the free clean up work, roof tarping - and they then will be the ones doing the home repairs eventually for those most vulnerable populations that don't have insurance," Tischler said. The contribution "could not have come at a better time."
"Washington County, because it is rural is often neglected and forgotten, that's the main reason that we want to be able to keep this organization alive because we want to be able to respond soon after a disaster," he later added.
The LTRO, which is a coalescence agency that pools together limited resources for distribution across a community that has been impacted by disaster, has identified 225 households that have reported damages to Washington County Emergency Operations Center. Of those, with 120 needing roof repair and the remaining tree removal.
The group was assembled in 2013 following a disastrous flood that caused major loss in the Vernon area. With the organization already in place, resources are distributed quicker, as other counties that are dealing with the immediate damages from Hurricane Michael are now doing the legwork to assemble such a group.
In fact, the local LTRO was the only one in place within the disaster zone prior to the storm, according to officials.
"This long-term recovery group already has a nice network of people to be working with," Klopf said. "It's wonderful, that's why we knew it was a good place for the money to go."
All donations made to the United Way of Northwest Florida will go directly to disaster relief efforts, she noted.
The LTRO is also looking for local volunteers that can strengthen the committee with talent, innovation and resources. To join the committee, call the Washington County Emergency Operations Center at 850-638-6203.
To make a donation, go to unitedwaynwfl.org.