TLGCS is now a member of TGCRVOAD!

Jul 31, 2023

By Evangeline Dai, Ministry Coordinator

We, the Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod (TLGCS) of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), are now a new member of the Texas Gulf Coast Regional Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (TGCRVOAD).

We will also apply for membership for the Louisiana VOAD. Their new President, Jessica Vermilyea, used to work at Lutheran Social Services Disaster Response (Upbring), so we already know her, and our leaders have good connections with her.

In their regular monthly meeting in July 2023, we were voted without objection to be accepted as a member of TGCRVOAD.

I attended TGCRVOAD’s monthly meeting in July 2023 as our synod’s Ministry Coordinator for Disaster Preparedness and Response. The meeting was hosted at the new Fort Bend County Office of Emergency Management (OEM).

We heard the presentations from Caroline Egan, the Recovery Manager, and Greg Babst, the Emergency Management Specialist (both from Fort Bend County Homeland Security & Emergency Management), and a situation debrief from Stephanie Wright, the Recovery Specialist from Harris County OEM.

In the meeting, the chairperson pointed out that people often focus on the response after a disaster; it is always harder to do table talk, drills, and exercises; we need to be more proactive. We also got a reminder and some resources for hurricane season preparedness.

After the meeting, we had a tour at the Fort Bend OEM. The emergency call center can connect to different mobile communications carriers, plus Starlink, in case of losing signals. It is good to build a relationship with local government officers and other non-profit organizations. In the event of disasters, we can work together through the 4C’s – Cooperation, Communication, Coordination, and Collaboration to help our communities with the R’s: Readiness, Resilience, Response, Relief, Rehabilitation, and Recovery.

The emergency response communication center at Fort Bend OEM.

We’ve already started using the information and resources we’ve received from their regular newsletter. We look forward to more things we can contribute to other members/partners to support each other.

For more information about Texas Gulf Coast Regional VOAD, visit