The Budget

Into the Storm

John Ely decides to serve his country by working for FEMA

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Into the Storm

Soaked — Senior John Ely will be running toward disasters this year when he begins volunteering with FEMA after graduation, acting as an emergency responder during natural disasters. He will be deployed in August to work with FEMA through AmeriCorps. “I knew I wanted to do a gap year with something that was important,” Ely said. “I wanted to feel like I was making a difference. I hope I find more self-direction and narrow down what I want to do with my life.”

Soaked — Senior John Ely will be running toward disasters this year when he begins volunteering with FEMA after graduation, acting as an emergency responder during natural disasters. He will be deployed in August to work with FEMA through AmeriCorps. “I knew I wanted to do a gap year with something that was important,” Ely said. “I wanted to feel like I was making a difference. I hope I find more self-direction and narrow down what I want to do with my life.”

Aidin Manning

Soaked — Senior John Ely will be running toward disasters this year when he begins volunteering with FEMA after graduation, acting as an emergency responder during natural disasters. He will be deployed in August to work with FEMA through AmeriCorps. “I knew I wanted to do a gap year with something that was important,” Ely said. “I wanted to feel like I was making a difference. I hope I find more self-direction and narrow down what I want to do with my life.”

Aidin Manning

Aidin Manning

Soaked — Senior John Ely will be running toward disasters this year when he begins volunteering with FEMA after graduation, acting as an emergency responder during natural disasters. He will be deployed in August to work with FEMA through AmeriCorps. “I knew I wanted to do a gap year with something that was important,” Ely said. “I wanted to feel like I was making a difference. I hope I find more self-direction and narrow down what I want to do with my life.”

By Symon Knox, Staff Writer

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While fellow classmates gear up for college, the workforce and more, senior John Ely is preparing himself for the opportunity of a lifetime.

Shortly after graduation Ely will join the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA.

FEMA is a disaster relief agency that has been around since the Carter administration. It coordinates the federal government’s participation in preparing for, preventing, responding to and recovering from disasters. The agency covers natural and manmade disasters. It also responds to acts of terror.

“I was thinking about doing a gap year, but someone at my dad’s office asked me if I had ever considered AmeriCorps,” Ely said. “I didn’t know what it was, so after a bit of research I found a program through FEMA. There was an application process that I started in December. I went through some clearances and submitted applications to different listings across the country. There are five campuses, and my application went out to all of them. The Sacramento campus contacted me, and offered me the job.”

Ely plans to travel to Sacramento, California, in a few months where he will begin his two months of training. Training will include everything from disaster relief to public outreach. After completing his training, FEMA will be able to send him anywhere in the country or to any U.S. territories to assist before and after disasters.

Most of the job will be physical labor. Much of what FEMA does after a disaster involves debris removal, as well as cleaning up or rebuilding damaged public buildings. Transitioning from a full-time student to a full-time physically demanding job is a change Ely looks forward to.

The job will require Ely to be available all year round in order to travel anywhere disaster may strike.

“The experience will be really different for me,” Ely said. “I’ll be held to a high standard of accountability, because you can’t really take time off, and you can’t go home much, so I’ll be more independent than I ever have before.”
Ely’s dad, Erik Ely, has nothing but good things to say about his son’s decision.

“It will be a real positive for him, being in situations where he is going to have to work hard physically and take on leadership roles,” Erik Ely said. “Being able to minimize the effect of a disaster on whatever he is working on will take a lot of leadership and hard work. It should really benefit him in the rest of his life.”

About the Writer
Symon Knox, Reporter

I'm Symon! This is my last year here at LHS and my second year on staff. I am in love with photo and anything that uses my right brain. On staff I kinda...

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Into the Storm