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Black Hills Recovery Network, a non profit organization, led by volunteers, who's mission is to provide education, referrals, and assistance in developing a quality disaster response system that addresses the unmet needs, after a natural disaster such as flood, tornado, or fire in communities of Western South Dako.
On August 17, 2007 a storm hit Hermosa, South Dakota, a community fifteen miles south of Rapid City, and pounded the town and surrounding area with rain, hail and wind for nearly two hours, flooding Battle Creek and turning into a waist deep wall of water that tore homes off their foundations, sweeping one of them over a mile downstream.
The area was declared a disaster by Governor Michael Rounds and a State Disaster Recovery Center was set up at the Town Office in Hermosa. Thankfully, there were no deaths. Forty nine homes were reported destroyed or severely damaged.
Black Hills Recovery Network, a 501 (c)(3) non profit organization, was formed by volunteers only days after this tragedy to provide short term relief to those hit hardest by the Hermosa flood and long term support in rebuilding the community. Long after the National Guard and Red Cross left the area, the volunteers of Black Hills Recovery Network kept working to clean up debris and get everyone back into their homes before winter. $54,985 was raised through donations and stretched to touch nearly every family affected by the Hermosa flood.
In an on-going effort to provide long term support in rebuilding the community, Black Hills Recovery Network raised an additional $68,000 to pay for Phase I of a critically needed Drainage Master Plan and Future Floodplain Mapping, a guidance document that will assist Hermosa in prioritizing and fixing nuisance drainage problems and outlining potential major projects to alleviate flooding issues experienced in 2007 and 2008.
Black Hills Recovery Network is sharing what we learned from this disaster with other communities in Western South Dakota, as well as actively lending support during a disaster as
Black Hills Recovery Network Organizational Information 2
we did during the severe blizzards of 2008 when we paid to have a donated semi-load of firewood hauled to Rosebud Indian Reservation and later worked with Black Hills Area Chapter of the American Red Cross to provide additional loads of firewood to both Rosebud and Pine Ridge Indian Reservations.
In the past two years, BHRN has worked with other non profit organizations to sponsor educational programs relating to Shelter Operations, Basic First Aid and Identity Theft.
BHRN also sponsors an Annual Scholarship Award of $500 to a graduating senior of western Custer County.
In August, 2008, BHRN formed Hermosa Neighborhood Watch to "empower people to share knowledge and education to improve the quality of life through problem solving, resulting in clean and safe neighborhoods."
In Oct. 2009, BHRN sponsored our first Safety Saturday, a celebration of safe communities. This event was planned to educate parents, children and the public on ways to make safe decisions, prevent injuries and encourage the use of safety equipment.
In 2010, Safety Saturday will be held on May 15 at Custer County Fairgrounds with an additional educational program, Save Our Farm Youth offered for children between the ages of 8 and 14. This day camp is designed to increase children’s (farm children and town children) awareness of a wide variety of farm hazards, as well as providing them with some fire safety and basic first aid training to help them or someone else survive a farm accident should one occur. This Farm Safety Day Camp is made possible, in part, by South Dakota CARES, SDSU Cooperative Extension Service and Avera Rural Health Institute.
- Joan Harris
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