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Reno County VOAD Still Assisting Families a Year After the Cottonwood Complex Fires


HUTCHINSON, Kan. – The Reno County VOAD continues work to assist families where needed after a year since the Cottonwood Complex Fires.

“It’s been such a heartbreaking but rewarding year of recovery for our Cottonwood Complex efforts” United Way Director Lisa Gleason said. “The residents of this area are amazing, resilient families and it has been an honor to support them on this journey.” The focus of the VOAD is to simply be a resource in the recovery where needed.  “Our goal was to walk alongside families and fill in the gaps,” Gleason said. “So, if they’re insured, what is their insurance not covering? If they are under-insured, how can we help support them?”

The VOAD has worked with each victim of the fire on a case-by-case basis, knowing that each need is different. “Some of it is just making sure that families are connected to the resources they need,” Gleason said. “We did case management with every single family who wanted our assistance.”

Thanks to our generous community with 100% of all donations going to the recovery efforts, the VOAD assisted with 40 different properties. The work started with immediate needs assistance such as housing and personal items then helped fund 120 dumpsters with 964 tons of debris taken away to the rebuilding efforts such as 29 water wells completed, 30 homes hooked back up with electricity and leveraged over 1800 volunteer hours to help assist in all that needed to be done.

The VOAD has held several town hall meetings with residents over this year to bring education and resources to them.  A last town hall meeting will be held this next week to honor our fire survivors and all that they have done to move forward.

The Reno County VOAD is made up of many organizations all working together for the betterment of our community during a disaster.  Those organizations include the United Way of Reno County, The Salvation Army, Interfaith Housing and Community Services, Trinity United Methodist Church, New Covenant Presbyterian Church, Reno County Emergency Management, The Volunteer Center, Mennonite Disaster Services, Reno.

County Health Department, City of Hutchinson, Association of Chaplains, Red Cross and Disciples of Christ. If you would like to learn more about the Reno County VOAD, please contact [email protected].