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▪Restoring Homes ▪ Restoring Hope ▪ Special points of interest:

Volume I, Issue III

• Read all about ‘LARRI Night” at the Railcats Steelyard on page 3!

LARRI reaches out to 18,000 FEMA applicants

• How many people participated in the Disney ‘Give a Day, Get a Day’ program? Turn to page 5 to find out! • Flip to page 7 to see pictures from LARRI’s third house blessing!

Inside this issue: Day in the life: Volunteer Coordinator


How YOU can help this month!


The Railcats take 3 LARRI out to the ballgame Disney ‘Give a Day’ brings volunteers to LARRI


Third house blessing brings new beginning for homeowner


Letter from the Director


by LeAnne Munoz Workers and volunteers at Lakeshore Area Regional Recovery of Indiana have reached out to nearly 18,000 people who applied for FEMA after the September 2008 flood. As part of the agreement required by the Lilly Endowment, Inc. Grant it receives to help flood victims, LARRI must make an effort to contact all who have applied for assistance in Lake, Porter and LaPorte counties. LARRI does this by contacting each homeowner twice by phone, and for a third time by letter. According to Carol Lewis, Recovery Specialist

June 2010

Assistant from LARRI’s Phone Center, about 10 to 15 percent of people called eventually become clients. Those who meet specific qualifications are turned over to Recovery Specialist Coordinator Kathy O’Day, who reviews and processes the clients eligible for the program. Lewis knows firsthand how the September 2008 flood affects those she speaks with every day. Her house had extensive damage after the flood, when water poured into the house and came to the main level through the crawlspace, causing mold to grow and spread to the second floor. LARRI helped Lewis in

Photo by Donna George

Volunteer Bruce Bauer participates in the phone blitz to contact FEMA applicants.

the reconstruction of her home, and in March 2010, she was able to go back home. She now uses her experience to help those who feel frustrated and abandoned by the system.

See: ’FEMA’ page 6

Bank helps project reach new ‘Horizon’

by Donna George Volunteer opportunities, with an organization like LARRI, are often found in unexpected places. For the staff at Horizon Bank in

Munster that opportunity was as close as the phone in their office. Michael McIntyre, branch manager of Horizon Bank, was first introduced to LARRI when Tavetta Patterson, LARRI office manager, gave a presentation at a Kiwanis Club meeting.

Sometime later, McIntyre found Patterson’s business card in his office. Thinking she was trying to reach him, he called her office and left a message. Patterson returned the call asking if he was trying to reach her and a connection was made. See: ‘Horizon’ Page 4

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▪ Restoring Homes ▪ Restoring Hope ▪

A day in the life: Volunteer Coordinator Volunteer Reception Center that United Way had opened in Munster, where she worked until November 2008. Once LARRI officially opened in January 2009, she was invited to apply for the Volunteer Coordinator position because of her prior knowledge of the volunteer process and her work with clean up efforts for United Way.

Photo Provided

Volunteer Coordinator Rhonda Carlson with volunteers from the AmeriCorps NCCC and the IUN Student Government Association

Background: Rhonda said she has always been interested in disaster response. Her first experience came in August 1990, when a by LeAnne Munoz tornado hit Joliet, Crest Meet Rhonda Carlson, Hill and Plainfield, Ill. Volunteer Coordinator. . Rhonda said she witnessed the devastation of a natural When the flooding first disaster when the tornado occurred, a friend asked wiped out apartment Rhonda to help with the

buildings right before her eyes. She then witnessed the first responders coming in to care for the survivors, feeding them and providing shelter almost immediately. “As a high school senior, it made a huge impression on me. “I was very impressed how the community pulled together to begin the process of recovery. I have always remembered that experience and have taken steps to learn all I can about it,” she said.

the volunteers. Aside from scheduling housing for the volunteers to stay in, she helps find out-oftown volunteers recreational activities and locations to visit during their down time. Rhonda also arranges shower facilities for all volunteers and helps arrange local clergy to facilitate any religious service requests volunteers might make. While her plate may be full, Rhonda said she always gets her job done. “When things are needed for volunteers, I know who to contact to get done what needs to get done. Everything always comes together,” she said.

Her role at LARRI: As Volunteer Coordinator, Rhonda deals with everything involving the volunteers, from recruitment to keeping contact with the organizations that supply

See: ‘Day in the life’ Page 4

How YOU can help this month Volunteer Opportunities Volunteers are at the very heart of what we do! Below are featured volunteer opportunities for adults and families:

Photo Provided

Volunteer Coordinator Rhonda Carlson

Cook meals at home to be brought to our volunteer houses (Everyday; Families)

Clean homes occupied by volunteers (Weekends; Families)

Construction at home sites, both skilled and unskilled workers welcome! We will train you! (Monday—Saturday; Adults)

Yard work, cut grass and maintain flower beds at houses occupied by volunteers (Weekends; Families) Please call Rhonda Carlson, Volunteer Coordinator, at (219) 836-1325 or to sign up for these opportunities. Thank you!

Volume I, Issue III

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The Railcats take LARRI out to the ballgame by LeAnne Munoz The sun was shining and the crowd was abuzz with excitement at the Gary Railcats Steelyard on May 22, when LARRI volunteers and employees came out to raise awareness for the group. LARRI raffled off six items to lucky fans: two pennants, one tshirt, two jerseys and one hat; all signed by the Railcats players. LARRI Volunteer Coordinator Rhonda Carlson said that the Railcats team has done so much to help bring awareness to LARRI. Team members even volunteered to help with both the outdoor restoration and landscaping of South Side Christian Church and a drain tile job at a LARRI client’s home. “They have been nothing but supportive of us, and have really bent over backwards to support their community,” Carlson said. Railcats Account Executive Radley Robinson said he believes LARRI is a great benefit to the communities in Northwest Indiana and thinks the involvement of the Railcats team

LARRI President Pastor Steve Conger throws out the first pitch Photo by Donna George

members is a great way to give back to the community. “It is my belief that without the [LARRI] volunteers from all the different communities, backgrounds, and walks of life, the affected communities would not be as far along in the rebuilding process as they are,” Robinson said. The Railcats’ love of LARRI extends even to the furry mascots so many fans have come to love. When asked what he thought of the event, Railcats mascot, Rascal, gave LARRI an enthusiastic two thumbs up! Fuerst, a three-year-old comfort dog from the Holy Cross Lutheran Church, was also available to greet Railcats fans. Holy Cross Lutheran Church has worked with LARRI during past events such as its anniversary picnic in 2009, and Pastor Tim Engel said he believes what LARRI is doing is making a difference in the lives of people in the Northwest Indiana region. “LARRI is doing tremendous work. It’s amazing there is still so much work to be done, but

Photo by Donna George

LARRI raffled off six Railcats items at the game, signed by all Railcats players

they are really making progress,” he said. Engel also mentioned that LARRI received a lot of attention while at the Railcats ballpark. “This event really gave LARRI the exposure it needs to continue with their progress, it’s a great thing,” he said. Carlson, who organized the event, ran the table that featured LARRI literature and volunteer forms for anyone interested in donating their time in the future. According to Carlson, about 15 people filled out volunteer forms. One individual who filled out a form was Gary, Ind. resident Lori Strickland, who had heard great things about LARRI from a co-worker who volunteers with the organization. According to Strickland, volunteering is something she has always wanted to do, and seeing the happy and cheerful attitudes of the employees encouraged her to fill out a volunteer form. “LARRI seems so full of love and encouraging; it just makes me want to work with them.”

Rusty the Railcat with Pastor Tim Engel and comfort dog Fuerst Photo by Donna George

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▪ Restoring Homes ▪ Restoring Hope ▪

Day in the life “It shows me that there are people in this world who truly care about their fellow man enough to put their service where their mouth is,” - Rhonda Carlson

A typical day on the job: According to Rhonda, everyday involves dealing with different challenges and surprises. When dealing with volunteers, she said it is extremely important to be flexible, organized and a good negotiator. Because LARRI requires so many volunteers to complete construction jobs, Rhonda is constantly looking to recruit individuals and groups who are willing to spend time with the organization. Planning for large volunteer groups to work with LARRI can sometimes take weeks of preparation, especially if

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they are from out of town and need accommodations and meals, but the happiness of the volunteers is her main priority. “It is my responsibility to make sure they are comfortable, happy and fulfilled when they are done with their volunteer experience [at LARRI],” she said. Most memorable moments: Rhonda said it is difficult to narrow her experiences to just one memorable moment. According to her, the best part of her job would be the

Horizon Patterson believes it was “Divine intervention” that led LARRI and Horizon Bank staff members to what became a purposeful partnership. McIntyre and the bank staff, as Champions of Hope volunteers, helped kick-off LARRI’s phone blitz aimed at contacting all of the nearly 18,000 homeowners on the FEMA list from the September 2008 flood. For McIntyre, volunteerism is not only something he personally believes in, but something that is supported and promoted by Horizon Bank as a corporation. Horizon Cares is a program that states, “As a corporate citizen, Horizon Bank has a responsibility to assist in the

wonderful experiences she has had with the incredible people she has met during her two years at LARRI. Rhonda said it is always amazing to see people give up a week or more of their lives to go and serve someone they have never met. “It shows me that there are people in this world who truly care about their fellow man enough to put their service where their mouth is,” she said.

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growth and prosperity of our communities—not only through economic development, but also as a leader in corporate citizenship, volunteerism and fulfilling the unmet needs of the community.” McIntyre said Horizon Bank was new to the community and they wanted to give back. What better way to fulfill that mission than to help LARRI make contact with flood victims to determine if they still have unmet needs from that disaster? LARRI Recovery Specialist Coordinator, Kathy O’Day got the process off the ground by assigning a letter of the alphabet from the FEMA list each week for the Horizon staff to call. Once a week she

would visit the office to collect information. O’Day said, “It was obvious that their office was very active in the community.” As with others who have participated in the phone blitz, the Horizon callers often made contact with homeowners who were anxious to share their flood related stories and experiences. “We were surprised to find out how much need still existed in the community,” McIntyre said. “I think you guys do a wonderful job.”

Photo by Donna George

LARRI office manager Tavetta Patterson, (left) Horizon Bank branch manager Mike McIntyre and teller Cindy Wilson review phone blitz plan.

Volume I, Issue III

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Disney ‘Give a Day’ brings volunteers to LARRI by LeAnne Munoz When Lakeshore Area Regional Recovery of Indiana Volunteer Coordinator Rhonda Carlson heard about the Disney “Give a Day, Get a Day” program, she jumped at the opportunity to get LARRI involved. “It was about 11 p.m. on Sunday when I saw the commercial. I got on the computer and signed up; I wanted those volunteers,” she said. The program, which started on Jan. 1 and continued until March 9, when it reached one million volunteers, allowed anyone over the age of six to receive a voucher for a free ticket to one Disney Park after volunteering a day of service. LARRI offered various options for volunteers, from construction to cooking meals and cleaning volunteer homes. About 490 people participated in the program:

Photo by Donna George

Demotte Christian Church volunteers help create Prayer Blankets for Welcome Home Baskets to be presented to displaced flood victims when they return home.

Photo by Rhonda Carlson

Demotte Christian Church Disney family day volunteers

nearly 105 people were sent to construction sites all over the Lake, Porter and LaPorte counties, 121 people cleaned volunteer houses, 154 people cooked for volunteer families and 27 people made phone calls to families from the FEMA list. Members of the Demotte Christian Church, 80 in total, participated in the Disney “Give a Day, Get a Day” program by helping LARRI create welcome home baskets, prayer blankets, picture frames and personalized pillowcases for families affected by the September 2008 flood. Demotte Christian Church member Kevin Fase and his family took part in the event and his wife, Jen, said that while earning free tickets to Disney is nice, helping people is the most important part of this program. “During the course of setting up the Family Work Day; we realized helping others was a reward in itself. The free day at Disney is just icing on the cake. We realize how many people it takes to accomplish tasks such as flood relief and

how many programs rely on volunteers because there isn't always enough money to fix everything,” she said. According to LARRI Volunteer Coordinator Assistant Tanya Massengill, the Disney program was a great way to give people of all ages a chance to volunteer. “There aren’t too many ways kids under 13 can volunteer, but this program gave them a chance to have something,” she said. Massengill also said that collaborating with a large corporation like Disney is a great way to send LARRI’s message out into the world. “The more people who join our efforts because of this program, the more people we can help, and that’s the most important thing.”

Photo by Donna George

A place to rest your head… Demotte Christian Church volunteers created personalized pillow cases for families affected by the flood.

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▪ Restoring Homes ▪ Restoring Hope ▪


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She now uses her experience to help those who feel frustrated and abandoned by the system. “When I speak with these people, I let them know I Photo by Donna George went through it too. It’s Students from Purdue my way of giving back, University Calumet because my home has participate in the been fixed,” she said. Spring Break-Thru As of June 2010, LARRI program by donating had made efforts to contheir time to help tact all 18,000 people on contact flood victims. the FEMA list; a feat Lewis said would not be possible without the volunteers. There aren’t too many ways kids under 13 who can volunteer, but this program gave them a

chance to have something. The volunteers are incredible. The people here are some of the most remarkable in the world,” she said. Dineen Johnson, a resident of Valparaiso, Ind., has worked in the LARRI Phone Center for three weeks and said she loves what she does. Johnson has been called “the compassionate one,” by others in the Phone Center because of her persistence in helping clients anyway she can, even if it means trying to contact them at work.

What is 2-1-1?

Photo by Donna George

Volunteers from the Mennonites Group helped make calls to people in need.

This summer, LARRI is proud to welcome almost 200 volunteers each week to the Northwest Indiana region. These volunteer photos are just a taste of what LARRI volunteers are doing to help restore flood damaged homes and assist with community projects.

2-1-1 is a three digit phone number anyone can call to get information about health and human services. Call 2-1-1 if you need information on housing, employment, legal aid, counseling and much more.

According to Johnson, her townhouse was the only home not damaged by the 2008 flood, and this is her way of helping those who were less fortunate. “By the grace of God, I was lucky. It could have been me,” she said. Lewis said that while outsiders may view the Phone Center as a boring place, she said it is actually the opposite. “The Phone Center is the first step in a long process of putting people’s lives back together again. What could be a better place than that?”

Volume I, Issue III

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Third house blessing brings new beginning for homeowner by LeAnne Munoz June 16 marked a milestone in the life of Diane Glittenberg: after a very long wait, she once again, has a place to call her own. Nearly 40 family members, friends, volunteers, Dyer town officials, first responders and LARRI associates showed up to welcome Glittenberg and her mother, Donna Glittenberg, into their new home. The Glittenberg’s home was demolished after suffering extensive damage from the flooding that took place in Dyer, Ind. Glittenberg found out about LARRI through her Dyer Methodist Church Pastor Ken Puent, who delivered the house blessing for the event and chairs the Communication Committee of LARRI. According to Puent, he and his church parishioners did what they could to help, but said they eventually reached a point where their help was not enough. “It was getting to be beyond what we could do, so when [Diane] was able to

Photo by Donna George

Friends, family, volunteers and LARRI members join hands in prayer to bless the new home.

partner with LARRI, we finally saw the light at the end of the tunnel.”

Photo by Donna George

A homemade banner from DeMotte Christian Church welcomes the Glittenberg family to their new home.

LARRI, funded by a Lilly Endowment, Inc. grant, assists residents from Northwest Indiana who were affected by flooding. According to LARRI Director Jane Delligatti, the Dyer town officials made the reconstruction job easy for everyone involved. “We were all welcomed with open arms. They made it very easy [for LARRI],” she said. LARRI Recovery Specialist Coordinator Kathy O’Day handled the Glittenberg case from the very beginning, so being present for the house blessing had a special meaning for her. “Diane was my first case at LARRI, and I learned a lot while working with her. It was a long process, but the end result gave her a gorgeous home,” O’Day said. While the rebuilding process took a long time to complete, Site Supervisor Mark Schmiedl said it was personally a labor of love. “I’m a builder, that’s just what I do. But with this one, I

felt like these people were family. We got them home, and that’s what it’s really all about,” he said. The charming one-story ranch style home, which now easily accommodates Glittenberg’s disabled mother, sits on the spot of the house Glittenberg’s father helped build in 1953. A new tulip tree now resides in the front yard of the home, with a small plaque beneath it, in loving memory of Glittenberg’s father and sister. As is LARRI’s tradition, everyone in attendance joined hands around the house, signifying the many hands it took to rebuild the home. Puent delivered the house blessing. “As we surround this house with our bodies, God surrounds it with his love,” he said. For Glittenberg and her mother, they could not be more pleased with the results or more appreciative of what Dyer officials, volunteer groups, and LARRI has done for them. “I never thought [getting help] would happen. Every time I thought I wouldn’t make it, everyone kept pushing me further. Words could not describe how much this means to me.”

Photo by Donna George

“Words could not describe how much this means to me,” - Diane Glittenberg

LAKESHORE AREA REGIONAL RECOVERY OF INDIANA Lakeshore Area Regional Recovery of Indiana Lake Business Center 9200 Calumet Averue Suite N 510 Munster, IN 46321

The Lakeshore Area Regional Recovery of Indiana committee is created in accordance with the laws of Indiana with the purpose of coordination of disaster recovery in Northwest Indiana Planning as defined by the State of Indiana, including Lake, Porter and La Porte Counties by sharing information, simplifying residents access to services and jointly resolving cases with natural disaster-caused needs. There are still hundreds of homes in dire need of restoration. New cases come to our attention almost every day. Volunteers of all skill levels are needed to help restore homes to a livable condition. We are in need of construction materials, tools, and housing for volunteer teams. To learn how you can help call: (219) 836-1325 or toll free at (877) LARRI4U. [877-527-7448]

Phone: 219.836.1325 Fax: 219.836.1546 E-mail:

Join us!

Letter from the Director Our monthly newsletter exists to further the mission of LARRI, which is to assist in recovery from disaster through the coordination of community resources, sharing of information and reconnecting lives to hope, specifically for the survivors of the September 2008 flood. We welcome suggestions for volunteers, clients, etc. that you would like to see featured in upcoming editions of the LARRI newsletter. Forward suggestions to Donna George, communications coordinator, at Thanks for reading! Sincerely, Jane Delligatti, Director Photo Provided

LARRI Director, Jane Delligatti

Lakeshore Area Regional Recovery of Indiana

June 2010 Newsletter  

This is the June 2010 Newsletter for LARRI.