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State Honoree

Meredith Swain

North Carolina

created and distributed 4,000 copies of “After the Flood,” a Spanish-language brochure detailing emergency flood procedures for Hispanic people in her state. Three years ago, after Hurricane Fran devastated her area, Meredith founded a youth service group that conducts various projects in her community. While her group was helping with relief efforts after Hurricane Dennis struck this past summer, it came to her attention that there was no flood information available to the Hispanic population. “Often, the Hispanics in our area live in sub-standard housing, which is prone to disastrous results under severe weather conditions,” said Meredith. “Many do not know how to access resources, and when they do get to an agency which can provide help, language is likely to be a barrier.” Meredith immediately began preparing her brochure, and then Hurricane Floyd attacked the area without warning. Though all area emergency management organizations agreed the brochure was necessary, Floyd kept them from getting involved. Meredith was on her own. She found a translator, raised money to purchase paper, and found a donor to photocopy the brochure. To date, she has distributed “After the Flood” to agencies in all 66 counties declared disaster areas, and receives regular requests. Since then, the local health department has asked Meredith to help produce a brochure using symbols for those who can’t read.