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Civil Air Patrol helps emergency operations

| April 22, 2020 1:00 AM

Coeur d’Alene Civil Air Patrol is answering the call.

Literally.

Volunteers are supporting Kootenai County Emergency Operations Center by answering the phones and performing essential administrative functions during the global coronavirus pandemic.

“The Kootenai County Emergency Operations Center could not have done what was needed without the volunteers from the Civil Air Patrol. This pandemic was a steep learning curve for all of us involved and mission focus changed, sometimes hourly. The CAP were critical in assisting us meeting the ever-changing needs of those we serve,” said Ben Wolfinger, Kootenai County Sheriff, Unified Command.

“While it’s not glamorous work, it is important,” said Capt. Ralph Wilfong, the liaison between the county and the Civil Air Patrol. “This has been a great example of how our local, state and federal government comes together during natural disasters. With a day of being asked, we had people, aircraft and vehicles ready to roll. It turns out the need was for experienced, FEMA trained planning, logistics and administrative staff and we were able to fill every requested role.”

Volunteers are using their professional talents and experience to help the operations center with obtaining FEMA reimbursements. This includes analyzing purchases and deliveries to get the most out of every tax dollar spent.

“This is what we do, and when called, we answered,” said Capt. McLain, Incident Commander for the Civil Air Patrol Response. “The support from our organization and our USAF team at the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center has been great.”

Civil Air Patrol volunteers have been helping the Kootenai County Emergency Management staff the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) since late March. Those team members include Lt. Col. Robin Vest, CAP, Lt. Col. Sarah Lynch, CAP and USAF (Ret.) and Cadet Chief Master Sergeant Kacey Greene.