New Disaster Manager promotes partnerships

Greg Gaines works from an American Red Cross emergency vehicle following a local disaster.

Greg Gaines works from an American Red Cross emergency vehicle following a local disaster.

Productive partnerships are the driving theme of Greg Gaines’ career and in his new position as the Disaster Program Manager for the American Red Cross of Southern Missouri.

“I have acquired the ability to get people and organizations to work together before and after times of disaster,” Gaines says.

In the manager position Gaines implements disaster services programs by leading primarily volunteers and some staff in disaster preparedness, response and recovery in Southern Missouri’s 29-county service area. The new service area is the result of reorganization in the Red Cross creating Western and Eastern Missouri Regions.

Upon becoming a staffer with Red Cross eight years ago, Gaines was liaison with emergency management agencies at city, county and state levels. He worked with first responders, community organizations and faith-based groups in planning and executing disaster response. This has included a major role in mass care feeding and sheltering efforts for everyone.

“Red Cross and its partners have led the way in making shelters available to anyone with access or functional needs,” Gaines points out.

In his extensive experience with sheltering he has been liaison between the national Red Cross and FEMA serving Missouri, Kansas, Iowa and Nebraska. Gaines has helped build regional mass care partnerships and coordinate disaster preparedness throughout the region. He is also a train-the-trainer on the Red Cross and FEMA national shelter systems.

Gaines has deployed to many Disaster Relief Operations, including ice storms in Southern Missouri, the floods in Fargo, ND, the EF-5 tornado in Joplin and Hurricane Sandy in New York.

“I’ve deployed to disasters all across our great nation to help people when they have lost everything, but what I am most honored about is to work with the best and most caring volunteers in the world, those in the American Red Cross. We couldn’t do anything without our amazing volunteers.”

GETTING TO KNOW GREG GAINES

• Raised in Springfield, MO
• Married over 15 years to his “honey bunny” Kat; lives with spoiled dogs Max and Abbey
• Served as a proud member of the United States Marine Corps in the early 1980s where he was stationed in Camp Pendleton, CA and Okinawa, Japan.
• Graduated Missouri State University (SMSU) in 1988 with a Bachelor of Science in Communication

• Into gardening, “I love gardening and being able to have what I need without always having to go to the store. We‘ve planted apple, peach, plum, nectarine, persimmon and paw-paw trees, we grow 35 kinds of heirloom fruits and veggies, we have our own bee hives so everything gets pollinated and donate over half of everything we grow to the Ozarks Food Harvest to give to those that might need some help. What we don’t donate we eat, freeze, can or dehydrate for the rest of the year.”

-Don Underwood, Public Affairs volunteer

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