Alabama EMA workers return after helping Sandy survivors - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Alabama EMA workers return after helping Sandy survivors

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CLANTON - AL -

They gave up their regular jobs, Thanksgiving and time away from sick family members to help Sandy survivors. Tuesday, a team of Alabama EMA workers returned home.

The of nine EMA employees voluntarily left their jobs in Clanton to work alongside first responders. They didn't just help relieve Federal Emergency Management Agency workers, they also learned how to take better care of future storm survivors in Alabama.

After a flight from New York to Atlanta and hours on the road, the team returned home. They were greeted with cheers and hugs from the family and co-workers left behind.

"People were in need," said Jeff Byard who lead the team. "Unfortunately disasters do not look at Thanksgivings."

That sense of duty was why Alabama EMA Director Art Faulkner and the governor agreed to send the team.

"They did so much in the state after the April tornadoes and stayed until all of our citizens received the assistance they needed, so it was sort of a sense of duty," said Faulkner.

The team helped emergency workers in nNew York City. By helping millions of Sandy survivors, they learned how to help Alabamians.

"We have to better our service to reach the whole community, to reach those who are hearing impaired, those who English may be a second language," said Byard.

The workers say they can now celebrate Thanksgiving.

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