DESOTO – It has been a year since DeSoto Mayor Rachel L. Proctor formed COAD, the Community Organizations Active in Disaster partnership. The occasion for the partnership was initiated in October 2021 as a response to Winter Storm Uri. The COAD was created to ensure emergency assistance and supplies for DeSoto residents are available if a disaster hits and there are no traditional relief options.
Now, one year later, Mayor Proctor took part in honoring the member organizations of DeSoto’s COAD emergency relief partnership during her Quarterly Faith Leaders’ Breakfast this past Wednesday.
Proctor had only been in office two days last year when the winter storm struck. For a brand-new Mayor who knew she must assist the residents – well, the experience turned out to be a baptism by ice and snow.
“I had to hit the ground running and my colleagues and I, along with City Management and our private sector friends gave our all to help our residents make it through that terrible storm and extended period of bitter cold,” Proctor said. “The lessons that we learned were valuable because they showed us where problems could lie in the future and allowed us to create this great DeSoto-based partnership that will be ready to assist our residents if or when adversity comes our way.”
Originally the city partnered with just a few local organizations. Since that time the list has developed into a network that represents respected organizations both in and outside of DeSoto. The network includes the American Red Cross, ATMOS Energy, CERT, Credit Union of Texas, DeSoto ISD, DeSoto Chamber, DeSoto Food Pantry, Disciple Central Community Church, Faith Bible Church, Jubilee Church, Lions Club, MINT Foundation, Nueva Vida Church, DeSoto Rotary Club, Serving with a Purpose, Shanita Brown Empowers, STAR Transit, Tri-City Animal Shelter, and Village United Methodist Church.
The services provided include animal care, case management, donated goods / management, financial aid, food / feeding, mental health aid, shelter locations, spiritual aid, transportation assistance and more.
Tackling Disasters Efficiently
Lauren Sanchez, Regional Emergency Management Coordinator for the Cities of DeSoto, Cedar Hill, Duncanville, and Lancaster said Proctor’s originating the idea in DeSoto really made a difference during last year’s crisis.
“During Winter Storm Uri, residents quickly had a variety of needs,” Sanchez said. “Our traditional support organizations located throughout the County were unable to offer full support due to unprecedented regional demand, dangerous road conditions, and COVID-related shelter restrictions.”
After last year’s storm Sanchez said the city learned “that its critical to fill needs using the resources close to home within DeSoto. We still have organizations throughout the County that we can request assistance from, but we will also send those requests to our COAD members to fill those needs more quickly.”
Gearing up for this winter Sanchez concluded “While the COAD is not an emergency response group, the groups within the COAD are ready to receive requests for assistance from the city if the community has needs during another bad winter weather event. The COAD is meeting ahead of the winter season to discuss the winter weather forecast and discuss needs that may arise from a winter storm.”
To learn more about DeSoto’s COAD visit the City’s website at: www.ci.desoto.tx.us/2096/DeSoto-COAD.