Buffy was brought on during the turmoil of DR-1829-ND. This was the biggest disaster to hit North Dakota since the Grand Forks flood and fire of 1997 (DR-1174-ND). With our state and local partners, Region VIII Mitigation had done multiple projects and activities in the Red River Basin and our desire was to convey these successes to the people of North Dakota, as well as other audiences. The idea was to how mitigation works and the return to society the mitigation investment makes.
Although Buffy is an External Affairs disaster assistance employee, because of her past history and involvement with Mitigation, we selected her for this assignment. Buffy did not disappoint us. She started in the Fargo office, researching leads, gathering photographs, working with a videographer. As the stories unfolded in the Red River Basin, Buffy was there to capture them. From drainage projects to large acquisitions, to flood insurance, Buffy gathered the information, contacts, and activities that went along with the largest recorded flood in Fargo’s history. Her notes turned into stories of achievement of the local communications and individuals who live there. Bringing to life how mitigation touched these individuals and their communities easing the recovery process and lessening the impacts to their lives.
Buffy’s writing captures the human side behind the event; the hometown pride that lives in us. This brings the reader in as part of the success story, and leaves them saying, “We could do this in my town.” Buffy did more than write stories; she pursued new avenues to present these Best Practices. With her assistance, Region VIII Best Practices are now on You Tube, Facebook and Twitter. She was also successful in getting several best practices published on FEMA websites, and one of her stories graced the front page.
She was instrumental in developing Region VIII procedures for Best Practices and presented at our bi-annual workshop to our state partners and regional staff. Buffy has moved our Best Practice activities forward from a standstill. Her research and development skills are outstanding. Mitigation projects are generally complicated and diverse, but Buffy was able to capture the essences of these projects in a manner that made them clear and interesting to the general populace. Her background in mitigation I’m sure was helpful, but the real strength lies with her journalistic skills.
We appreciate Buffy’s efforts and would highly recommend her for this type of activity in the future.