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Thursday, February 29, 2024

CareerSource staff praised as ‘Hurricane Michael Heroes’

The staff at the CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion was recognized by CareerSource Gulf Coast as “Hurricane Michael Heroes” this past Wednesday. 

CareerSource Gulf Coast Executive Director Kim Bodine expressed appreciation for the support her region received in the weeks following Hurricane Michael. She concluded with a presentation of awards to CareerSource CLM staff members who, she said, went above and beyond in their efforts.

They were recognized during CareerSource CLM’s quarterly board meeting and presented with awards inscribed with a quote by the late Maya Angelou that read, “I think a hero is any person really intent on making this a better place for all people.”

“These awards are just a small token for the post-disaster response from CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion workforce partners,” Bodine said.

“These individuals left their families, air-conditioned homes and the amenities with which we are accustomed. They came into a hurricane-devastated area with no electricity and little cell phone service. They worked out of both a mobile unit powered by generators and the front of our hot/humid, moldy, flooded Job Center to help us serve our citizens. Words really are not enough to express the gratitude we have for their support after this disaster.”

Back on October 10, 2018, Hurricane Michael made landfall in the Florida Panhandle, destroying or damaging much along its path.

For the staff at CareerSource Gulf Coast, the destruction caused issues that were personal as well as professional. Homes, vehicles and lives were wrecked. Communication was limited, and staff was displaced. There was also grave concern about how the region would serve its community when electricity, internet access and technology was unavailable.

CareerSource Gulf Coast’s 18,000-square-foot job center was also severely damaged, forcing the center to relocate to a temporary office in Panama City.

Bodine said she was contacted before and after the hurricane by Rusty Skinner, CEO of CareerSource CLM, who asked what resources were needed in order to help ensure those resources were made available.

CareerSource CLM provided 12 staff members – Earl Beegle, David Braden, Brenda Chrisman, Katie Jo Davis, Cathy Galica, Lisa Gruber, Valeria Hancock, Kevin Harrison, Dwain Henderson, Emma Pasbjerg, Penny Spence and Larry Trowbridge – who aided residents with Disaster Unemployment Assistance applications.

CareerSource CLM also provided two fully-functional mobile units equipped with computers and internet access.

With CareerSource CLM’s support, CareerSource Gulf Coast was able to assist more than 10,000 individuals apply for Emergency Disaster Unemployment Assistance

Skinner said, “Our staff are committed to helping others. The volunteers who helped our friends lived up to that commitment and we are very proud of each of them.

CareerSource Gulf Coast and CareerSource CLM are two of the state’s 24 workforce development regions in the CareerSource Florida network.