Bill Woodard has just returned home to his wife and family in USA’s Washington state after deploying as a ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) member in cyclone-hit Philippines. Having completed the extensive SRT training in October 2012, this was his first deployment. Although he was able to put his training into practice and help families in need, his biggest reward came from the Filipino people themselves.
‘Thanks to the leadership of Alice Jefferson, ShelterBox’s in-country coordinator, SRT member John Cordell (US) and those SRTs who proceeded me, much of the planning and hard work had been done prior to my arrival in the Philippines. My role was therefore to execute the plan.
‘John and SRT member Max Hogg (UK) saw to it that I got to put as much of my training in to practice as possible: cluster meetings, working tents through customs, the logistics of getting the tents to site, training teams to put tents up, and most importantly, evaluating families’ needs and helping put up their tents. By the time I left the Philippines I felt as though my ‘text book’ first deployment was productive and meaningful.
‘But the real surprise and the greatest reward came from the Filipino people themselves. I left the Southeast Asian country feeling as though I was leaving friends behind; we shared so many common values, they were so open and friendly and in spite of all they had been through were still fun-loving.
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