Michigan's AmeriCorps Alum Spotlight

MI AmeriCorps Alum Spotlight - September 2017: Robb Morford, Together We Prepare Red Cross

Community service has always been an important part of Robb Morford’s life. From a very young age, his parents had his siblings and him helping to better the community. Robb continued that trend by serving as a full-time AmeriCorps member with the Together We Prepare AmeriCorps program during the 2012-13 program year.

The Together We Prepare AmeriCorps program is administered by the American Red Cross - Michigan Region. The program utilizes 33 full-time AmeriCorps members to improve the capacity of communities to prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters in locations across Michigan. In addition to preparedness education, AmeriCorps members provide direct assistance to individuals experiencing disaster.

“AmeriCorps helped expose me to segments of my community that I would never have met otherwise,” Robb stated. “My knowledge, empathy, and dedication to the whole community grew.”

Today, Robb’s AmeriCorps experience helps him as he travels the country assisting disaster survivors as a Federal Emergency Manager with FEMA. “Culture, economics faith, and every aspect of a person are wide and varying. AmeriCorps taught me how to appreciate and be respectful of where each person is coming from. When working with people during one of the most stressful times of possibly their entire life, this is critical to helping them recover from that tragic event. I credit my AmeriCorps service with advancement in my career, but more importantly, to my appreciation of others as a member of society.”

Robb looks back on his time in AmeriCorps with great fondness. “The time I gave to my community is priceless. Helping people was all the reward I could have asked for. This service meant more to me than a stipend and help with college loans. This service was an opportunity to learn about my community and myself. AmeriCorps challenged and exposed me to new parts of the world. My service changed me for the better.”

Robb’s current employer utilizes many different forms of community service to help a community recover from disaster. FEMACorps (and the entire AmeriCorps family), the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, and local community groups play significant roles. “Through my work, I help the federal government work with these partners efficiently and in ways that have the most positive impact. It is rewarding to encourage AmeriCorps members working on a disaster to pursue a career in Emergency Management and share my story of the impact AmeriCorps had on me. It is heartwarming to see a young woman gutting a flooded house next to an old man and listen to them share life experiences. We just cannot put enough emphasis on the impact this has on a young AmeriCorps member.”

Robb continues to promote a spirit of service in a variety of ways. “At home, I am still involved with the American Red Cross as well as political advocacy groups. With my friends and co-workers, we encourage our communities to better themselves, support those less fortunate than us, and protect our environment. Whenever they are interested, I will bring along a friend and hope they catch the dedication to community service too.”

For more information about the Together We Prepare AmeriCorps program, please contact program director Julio Montemayor at julio.montemayor@redcross.org. For more information about AmeriCorps, visit www.americorps.gov