They go in after the first responders have gone.

The Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster is a community volunteer group that helps victims of disasters well after the event has dissipated.

It is an organization at both the state and national level and was founded in 1970 using its core principles of cooperation, communication, coordination and collaboration according to its website.

On Wednesday, the Dodge City VOAD will be welcoming United Way of the Plains director of direct services and VOAD chair for the south central Kansas region, Mark Stump to speak at Manor of the Plains at 11 a.m.

"In early 2017 after the wildfires, we established a community VOAD," Gayle Ausmus with United Way said. "We are not first responders, after all is gone, some people out there still have so many needs.

"That's where we come in."

Ausmus said that the local VOAD organization started with a few members and have grown in numbers since.

The organization not only comes to aid victims after a disaster but also provide advanced planning for disaster relief by providing food, shelter, clothing and other assistance.

"Sometimes you don't realize how long it takes to organize and bring other members in and how to get involved," Ausmus said. "We establish a line of communication and coordination.

"When disasters strike, so many people come out of the woodwork to help.

"Where we fit in is in it for the long haul."

For those wishing to attend the speaking engagement, it will be held at Manor of the Plains on the south side off of Campus Drive at 11 a.m.

For those wanting to volunteer for the community VOAD, it is recommended to attend the speaker engagement as well.

For more information on VOAD, visit

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