CWS’s Barry Shade was CWS Associate Director for Domestic Emergency Response for the past five years and his work with the organization reflects the breadth of CWS’s work as a partner with Week of Compassion..
His career with the U.S. Air Force, from 1972 to 2002 made him an ideal for emergency response work. As it happened, he was involved in disaster preparedness and response work for much of that time, mostly in the U.S. Midwest but also in Turkey, Bulgaria and Saudi Arabia where he dealt with everything from a crashed airplane to flooding and fires.
Barry came out of his first retirement in 2008 to work for the Federal Emergency Management Agency. This assignment is what took Barry to Olathe, KS where he joined St. Andrew Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). He served FEMA as a public assistance officer, doing disaster assessments and preparing grants for disaster-affected communities, mostly in Iowa, Nebraska and Alabama.
When he wasn’t on the road with FEMA, Barry participated in several Disciple Volunteering mission trips to New Orleans to help rebuild houses damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.
It was on one of those trips that he heard from the trip leader about the job opening at Church World Service. “Perfect,” Barry said. “I had been looking for full-time work with a nonprofit that would use my disaster preparedness, assessment, resource development and managerial experience.”
Working closely with his team of emergency response specialists, Barry represented CWS to an extensive network of secular and faith-based disaster professionals across the United States and led the team’s collaboration with disaster response staff at CWS participating communions.
He managed a robust program that, during his tenure, touched disaster survivors in all 50 states and several U.S. territories. Among program elements: rapid dispatch of CWS Kits and Blankets worth hundreds of thousands of dollars to disaster sites as requested by partners on the ground, and support for the formation of local long-term recovery groups with start-up grants and by organizing training in what it takes to put a community back together following a disaster.
Another key training piece: CWS U.S. disaster response webinars, reaching thousands of disaster response specialists on subjects ranging from “Long-Term Recovery Basics” to “Health and Safety in Disaster Recovery” to “Disability and Disaster.” Barry and his team also have coached countless numbers on conference calls and in one-on-one conversations by telephone or in person.
“In my five years with CWS, the training piece has been the most gratifying,” Barry said. “Much of what it takes to rebuild a community is knowledge – and more than anything else, at Church World Service we are trainers. The result: so many more individuals and communities across the United States better able to withstand and recover from disaster.”
One of his post-CWS trips will be his first visit to his congregation’s sister community in El Salvador, El Higueral, a community ravaged during the country’s 1980s civil war. For 20 years now, the congregation has been helping El Higueral recover with visits and material assistance ranging from medical supplies and soccer balls to college scholarships. The current project is to supply safer, cleaner stoves selected by the community.