Training ensures Catholic Charities will ‘unflinchingly maintain our duty of care to those we serve’

U.S. Army Reserve Emergency Management Specialist Rob Stabb; Lieutenant Colonel Shedonta Gordon; and Catholic Charities of Oneida/Madison County Director of Administration Jan Stasaitis participate in an emergency planning training last week. -Photo by Major Ruth Castro

By Dyann Nashton

Contributing writer

   UTICA – A key underpinning of the mission of Catholic Charities is its efforts to organize and provide direct services to all people in need. These can be the needs of one person, one family, one building’s residents or an entire community. No matter how large the scale, being prepared is the best way to carry out that mission.

   Representatives of the United States Army Reserve spent last week with a half-dozen team members of Catholic Charities of Oneida/Madison County for emergency planning training. The project brought members of the 1st Mission Support Command in Puerto Rico and U.S. Army Reserve Command in Fort Bragg to present the workshop on Continuity of Operations and Emergency Planning Assistance.

   Denise Cavanaugh, executive director of Catholic Charities of Oneida/Madison County, said, “What resonated with me is that this program was a huge, wonderful, out-of-the-box opportunity with high-powered Army Reserve officials who came in so that we could gain from their experience.” She said she is eager to share the training information with the other Catholic Charities offices throughout the Syracuse Diocese.

   Connectivity with those Catholic Charities serves and other community agencies is critical in times of need.

   “Nobody wants to talk about the worst-case scenario. But if we do that ahead of time and talk about the process, we are in a better position to serve those who need us. If you don’t put your head in the sand and take the time to sit down and prepare, you’re better able to help others,” she noted.