We had the opportunity to catch up with Jason Giler from RadioShack Store Operations, as he just recently returned from a trip to Joplin, MO. Jason is originally from Germantown, Maryland and currently lives in Keller, TX. He has worked for RadioShack for 6 years and spent 5 of those years as a Store Manager.
We heard you just recently made a trip to Joplin, Missouri to help with the relief efforts, can you tell us a little bit about your experience?
I submitted my volunteer application to the St. Louis Chapter of AmeriCorps on Monday, May 23rd and received approval on Friday, May 27th at about 4PM. Once they approved my application, I selected the type of work I wanted to do. I picked two four hour shifts, then packed my bag and supplies, and headed to Missouri.
At around 2AM I arrived in Miami, Missouri, which is about 30 miles from Joplin. Many of the hotels in the Joplin area were full, as the hotels serve as temporary homes for the displaced Joplin residents. I wasn’t able to find a place to stay on the first night, so I slept in my car. I woke up about 6am that Saturday morning to head to Joplin, where I was scheduled to start at 8.
I hopped on a school bus with the other volunteers and was taken to a neighborhood covered in debris that needed to be cleared. I spent about 9 hrs in this neighborhood before it was time for me to go. I was expecting to stay another day, but with all of the hotels and churches filled to capacity, there was no place to stay.
What was your initial reaction when you saw the devastation in Joplin?
When I arrived in Joplin and saw the devastation I was completely shocked. I had no idea the damage was so extensive and widespread.
What kind of volunteer work did you do while in Joplin?
I was placed in a group with four other volunteers to do the following tasks, in two 4-hour shifts:
- Debris clean-up
- Neighborhood assessments (damage/safety, etc.)
- Donation collection, sorting and distribution of food, supplies, and clothing
Did you make a trip to the Joplin RadioShack?
I did find the Joplin RadioShack but I wasn’t able to get a close look at the store. The shopping center was blocked off due to the extensive damage of the retail locations.
Have you ever aided in disaster relief before?
No, this was my first time.
Do you have any plans to return to Joplin?
Of course. I was on the AmeriCorps website yesterday checking out the volunteer opportunities available.
Would you encourage others to volunteer with Joplin disaster relief?
Definitely. It was a very rewarding experience. It made me take a step back and realize how fortunate I am. Since the trip I have made it a point to remind myself daily how grateful I am for all that I have.
What is a favorite product of yours that you recommend for weather preparedness?
The RadioShack 7-Channel SAME Desktop Weather Radio w/Alarm; it’s ready to use out of the box so it’s very user friendly. When I was a Store Manager, this was a customer favorite.
How do you keep up with weather-related news?
I use The Weather Channel app on my Android powered device!
Thank you, Jason, for taking the time to chat with us!
Our thoughts are still with the people of Joplin. Find out how you can get involved with the St. Louis Chapter of AmeriCorps to aid in the relief efforts. You can also help people affected by disasters like the recent tornadoes in Oklahoma, Minnesota and Missouri by making a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief.
As always, we want you to be prepared for bad weather with a Weather Preparedness kit or a Weather Radio. You can check out our Top 4 Things To Pack In Your Weather Preparedness Kit to get an idea of where to start.