National service agency recognizes Florida resident for 600+ hours of service rebuilding homes affected by Hurricane Ian

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Monday, Jan. 23, AmeriCorps CEO Michael D. Smith presented the Gold President’s Volunteer Service Lifetime Achievement Award to Monica Lopez in recognition of more than 600 hours of volunteer service to Harlem Heights, Fla., through Adventures in Missions in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian. 

After Lopez’s own home was destroyed in the hurricane, she received services from Adventures in Missions and quickly decided to join the cause to support disaster relief efforts. Lopez first assisted with debris removal, mucking and gutting out damaged buildings and helping to clean up flood-damaged homes. She also has served meals, established a lodging volunteer base, led walk-up volunteer teams, performed assessments and provided a listening ear to community members. She is now learning trades and skills so that she can lead light construction crews as Adventures in Missions embarks on the next phase of recovery.

“I was honored to recognize Monica for the incredible work she has done for the Fort Myer’s community from volunteer coordination to physical labor,” said Smith. “Her story is a reminder that even in the aftermath of a disaster, there will always be Americans who come together to find the path forward. On behalf of AmeriCorps, thank you for sacrificing your time and demonstrating service as a uniting force.”

AmeriCorps Disaster Response Teams, Adventures in Missions, Rebuilding Together and Harlem Heights Foundation have worked together to provide temporary repairs and other assistance to families affected by Hurricane Ian. AmeriCorps Disaster Response Teams are part of an AmeriCorps program that has a heightened focus and commitment to disaster response and recovery. These teams engage in activities and trainings year-round, are a nationally deployable resource and are recognized in the emergency management community as leaders in volunteer management.

Led by AmeriCorps and managed in partnership with Points of Light, the President’s Volunteer Service Award allows organizations to recognize their most exceptional volunteers based on service over a 12-month period or a lifetime. The awards program began in 2003 and honors individuals whose service positively impacts communities in every corner of the nation and inspires others to act.

In Florida, more than 9,200 Americans of all ages and backgrounds unite each year to meet local needs, strengthen communities, and expand opportunity at more than 1,300 locations across the state. Last year, AmeriCorps invested more than $44.3 million in federal funding to support cost-effective community solutions, working hand-in-hand with local partners to empower individuals to help communities tackle their toughest challenges.