Emergency Deployment Program helps to facilitate donations and address community needs

The Emergency Deployment Program has seen many employees step forward to join efforts to combat the coronavirus (COVID-19), including the deployment of employees to support the King County Emergency Operations Center (EOC).

In its response to the virus, the EOC has developed a Donations Management Team to facilitate the donation of hundreds of thousands of masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer, as well as meals and other donations to first responders. The team is also responsible for connecting donation resources with community needs, and has set up the King County Regional Donations Connector to help facilitate this work.

To learn more about this effort, we connected with several employees working on the Donations Management Team at the EOC: Kevin Nuechterlein, Rey Sugui, and Judy Cordova. They each came on board to support the Team when it was created March 16.

Pictured: Kevin Nuechterlein

Kevin deployed from his regular position with King County International Airport (KCIA) to help combat the coronavirus. Prior to deploying with the program, he worked on the engineering team as a capital project manager. He had been in this role for just over a year and with King County since 2016. He responded to a call early on to help stand up the Donations Management Team for the Emergency Operations Center COVID-19 response, and has been with the team since it was founded under the leadership of Janice Rahman, Senior Emergency Management Program Manager.

“The Donations Management Team was set up because there has been tremendous community support for the County’s response to COVID-19,” he said. “It has been an amazing experience seeing this outpouring of support, he said.

Pictured: Rey Sugui

Rey joined the team from his position in the Department of Local Services (DLS), Roads Division as Intergovernmental Relations. He has been with King County for 21 years, since 1999. He was asked by the DLS Chief of Staff if he was interested in joining the Team.

“This is affecting all of us at the County as employees and as a community,” he said. “This program allows those that have the capacity and willingness to play a larger role in supporting the county’s staffing needs in its COVID-19 emergency response.”

Judy has been with the County since 1996, going on 24 years, and currently works for the King County Regional Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) as an Educator Consultant and Trainer.  She provides training to law enforcement personnel on fingerprint related process and technology and educates the public about the County’s regional AFIS program. She was redeployed to assist in managing and to coordinate incoming donations of goods, services and cash to the EOC.

Pictured: Judy Cordova

“With every emergency situation there are corresponding needs for the first responders and the community at large,” she explained. “Having an influx of donation offers streaming from individuals and organizations means we were able to respond and resource out offers to where the high needs are.”

The County has had to adapt to meet changing requirements and public health concerns. The Emergency Deployment Program has given employees the opportunity to support these efforts and play an active role in life-saving, essential work.

“Not everyone is able to help with this response in such a way but being a County employee, we have a unique opportunity to roll up our sleeves and lend a supportive hand,” Kevin said. “It gives me a great sense of pride to know that I am lending my skills and expertise to have a direct positive affect on our community’s response to COVID-19.”

Rey adds that while employees have others ways to get involved in the County’s COVID-19 response, such as  donating money through the Employee Giving Program or donating leave hours for employees in need, this program offers something different.

“If you have a yearning to have more of a direct impact to helping the community then take one of the many roles needed and be assigned where you are working directly at any of the Assessment Centers/Recovery Centers, Isolation/Quarantine sites or at the King County Office of Emergency Management,” he said.

The Emergency Deployment Program has also provided Judi, Kevin, and Rey, with the opportunity to use their professional skills in a dynamic, changing environment, often collaborating with other departments and organizations. They have been able to work in multiple lines of service, including operations, logistics, donations, and emergency management, as well as witnessed firsthand the dedication of their fellow employees.

“This has been a wonderful opportunity to learn new valuable and transferable skills, work with a wide variety of people from throughout King County government and give back to my community during this critical time,” Kevin said.

“This is where things are happening,” Judy added. “I have worked with this group for almost 7 weeks now and the reward is amazing.”

“I have witnessed a well-oiled machine that has great leaders in time of crisis and disasters. I think we are lucky to have them,” Rey said.

Through the Emergency Deployment Program, employees can further King County’s efforts to battle coronavirus, and also engage with a part of the community they may not get to usually. This work allows employees to make a significant impact on overall coronavirus relief, and get personally involved in life-changing work. The EOC, like other sites, encourages and promotes safety measures for COVID-19 mitigation, including providing cleaning supplies, promoting physical distancing and related practices, and following other safety recommendations.

Judy sums up the value of the program as twofold, making a significant impact on the fight against coronavirus, and providing employees with insights and abilities they can only develop through their commitment to public service. She explains how employees will work with different County departments and organizations, meet and learn from other staff, and establish camaraderie with other employees who are banding together to work towards a common goal.

“If you are interested in a challenging and rewarding experience while providing assistance during these times of need, please consider getting involved as King County continues to take an aggressive approach to fighting the effects of COVID-19 in our region,” said Judy. “Visit http://www.kingcounty.gov/emergency-deployment to get more information, apply for a temporary assignment, and come work with us!”

For more information and to apply for the Emergency Deployment Program, visit www.kingcounty.gov/emergency-deployment. To donate to the coronavirus relief efforts through the King County Regional Donations Connector visit www.kingcounty.gov/emergency/donate.