Denver disaster relief managers travel to devastated area, urge support for victims
Two experienced disaster case managers traveled to Baton Rouge, La., from Catholic Charities in the Archdiocese of Denver to assist with flood disaster recovery efforts.
Chip Leckway of Highlands Ranch—a former supervisor of disaster recovery case managers—and Kathy O’Day of Greeley—also a former disaster case manager supervisor—left for Baton Rouge on Aug. 28 to provide aid as Louisiana faced the devastation left in the wake of the flood.
“We’re all human and need help at times,” said Larry Smith, CEO of Catholic Charities of Denver. “When there’s expertise in one area and there’s a loss in another, we need to respond. That’s the basis of the Catholic Church. We’re there for one another regardless of race, creed or background. When someone is in need, you’ve got to drop what you’re doing and help. That’s what Catholic Charities in Denver does now.”
“Louisiana flood victims desperate for volunteers, money,” is a headline on USA Today, noting that “flooding has killed 13 people and damaged tens of thousands of homes and businesses.”
In 2013, during the devastating floods in Northern Colorado, Catholic Charities personnel from Syracuse, N.Y., and Camden, N.J., traveled to Colorado to assist in recovery efforts. Now, Catholic Charities of Denver sent personnel to help in Louisiana.
“We went through a flood disaster three years ago. We know about the pain and suffering those folks are going through,” Smith said. “When we had the floods in Colorado, about nine people came from across the country and from Catholic Charities USA to help flood survivors. We could not have done what we did without their charity. We want to return that favor.”
According to Catholic Charities USA, “The Catholic Charities network has helped millions of people impacted by all kinds of disasters—floods, hurricanes, mudslides, tornadoes, ice storms, droughts, wildfires, explosions, violence, and environmental damage. Since 2005, we have responded to 470 disaster events of 25 different types, helping over 6.5 million people.”
At Catholic Charities in Denver, Leckway provided direct supervision to staff of disaster recovery case managers and administrative assistants. Kathy O’Day worked as a Disaster Case Manager Supervisor from November 2008 through June 2016 for three large federally-declared disasters in Indiana and Colorado.