The latest group of Iowans will leave Sunday to continue counseling victims and survivors of the attacks of September eleventh. Marti Anderson in the state’s Crime Victims office says the volunteers started training after a series of school shooting incidents showed the need for counseling after public tragedies. An outfit called National Organization for Victim Assistance trained 65 volunteer Iowans who could go help. “NOVA” was called upon after September eleventh, and Andersen says they turned to states where teams had been trained, like Iowa. She emphasizes they are not “first responders” like fire and emergency-medicine techs.They go in a bit later to help people deal with the emotional impact. Teams have gone five times already to New York and New Jersey.She says they work at a Family Assistance center at Liberty State Park, right next to the statue of Liberty and across the Hudson River from Ground Zero. Andersen says there are thousands of people whose family, friends, jobs, and co-workers were lost, and they’re far from healed. Andersen herself has gone on two of the one-week missions already.She says week is not a long time, but they work 14-16 hours days, hoping to do as much as they can. Anderson says people being helped are moved and ask why someone came all the way from Iowa to help. Andersen says their appreciation, and the satisfaction of giving help, are enough reward for the 56 Iowans who’ve gone so far.
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