Archive for September, 2012

Mormon Helping Hands: Southern New Jersey Cleanup Final Report

Click to View Larger Animation On June 29th, 2012 a major thunderstorm made its way across a third of the country, knocking down trees and cutting power to more than a million people.

The damage from this storm in Cumberland County, New Jersey and Atlantic County, New Jersey was severe and wide-spread. Tens of thousands of trees crushed roofs and cars, blocked roads and driveways, and downed power lines. This animation from the University of Wisconsin—Madison illustrates the extent of the storm. Southern New Jersey was by no means the only place affected by this massive storm.

About one week after the storm, the Offices of Emergency Management for Cumberland and Atlantic Counties asked members of the New Jersey Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters (VOAD) to assist with clean-up and tree-removal efforts. In particular, they requested help on behalf of senior citizens and disabled individuals who could not otherwise clean up downed trees. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints participates in New Jersey VOAD.

Under the direction of Ahmad Corbitt, President of the Cherry Hill New Jersey Stake (a stake is similar in size to a Catholic diocese) of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, more than 700 Mormon Helping Hands volunteers, a dozen UMCOR volunteers, and several Boy Scouts and Comcast Employees from New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania enthusiastically donated 4,859 hours to Southern New Jersey senior citizens. Volunteers responded to 314 requests, and saved New Jersey senior citizens an estimated half-million dollars (~$529,000) in tree removal expenses.

This Google Earth animation and KMZ file illustrates the extent of the service volunteers provided, between July 15, 2012 and August 25, 2012.

Mormon Helping Hands volunteers worked in coordination with the Cumberland County, New Jersey Office of Emergency Management; the Atlantic County, New Jersey Office of Emergency Preparedness; New Jersey 2-1-1; the United Methodist Church’s UMCOR volunteer organization; the New Jersey VOAD; the Burlington County, New Jersey Council and Southern New Jersey Council of the Boy Scouts of America; Comcast employees; the New Jersey Governor’s Office on Volunteerism; and the Emergency Management departments of several cities and townships in the Garden State.

About The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (commonly called the “Mormon Church“) is a Christ-centered faith with more than 14 million members worldwide. Mormon Helping Hands is a Church program to provide community service and disaster relief to those in need. Members of the church are encouraged to volunteer in the community. The Church will soon open the new Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Temple.

Instructions for Running the Southern NJ Mormon Helping Hands Clean-Up KMZ file

To open the animation in Google Earth (cleanup_timeline.kmz), follow these steps:

  1. If you have not done so already, download Google Earth.
  2. Download and save
  3. Unzip It should contain:
    • A file named “readme.html”
    • A folder named “htm”
    • A file named “cleanup_timeline.kmz”
  4. Install and run Google Earth
  5. In Google Earth, open “cleanup_timeline.kmz”
  6. By default, the playback will take only 30 seconds (which is way too fast). For optimal playback, follow these steps (click to enlarge images):
    1. Slide the Time slider all the way to the right. Click to Enlarge
    2. Slide the “Span” section of the time slider all the way to the right. This will make sure that you’re only seeing one slice of time in each frame. If you run the time slider and it just looks like slides are being piled on top of one another, make sure you adjust this setting. Click to Enlarge
    3. Slide the Time slider all the way to the left. Click to Enlarge
    4. Click the (+) button twice until the date on the left says “7/15,” and the date on the right says “7/22.” Click to Enlarge
    5. Click the Setup button that looks like a wrench. Change the “Animation Speed” to roughly halfway between “slower” and “faster.” Click to Enlarge
  7. Click the Play button to see the animation. Time Slider Play
  8. You may listen to the The Time To Run by Dexter Britain that serves as the sound bed for the YouTube clip. It is distributed under an Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License.

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