By CHRIS AGEE
Palo Pinto County Commissioners Tuesday officially recognized the Palo Pinto County Disaster Relief Team as a liaison for Emergency Management Coordinator Buddy Harwell.
The approval came after meetings last week between the DRT and Chambers of Commerce from Mineral Wells and Possum Kingdom.
"We work in conjunction with the county fire marshal," said team coordinator Cindy Maness.
She explained the team sought recognition "so we can go to businesses and say we're the ones to deal with."
The relief effort following previous disasters has been disjointed, she explained, as numerous individuals would visit the same retailers asking for donations without communicating with each other.
County Judge David Nicklas suggested volunteers receive basic National Incident Management System training, to which Maness said she was already looking into implementing such training into the program. She added prospective members of the team will be vetted.
"If anybody comes in, we'll do a background check on them," she told commissioners.
Sheriff Ira Mercer agreed with Maness' assessment of previous relief efforts, noting it is the result of "a lot of people really trying to be helpful."
Harwell also vouched for the effectiveness of the DRT, saying it is "working better each time."
He said the team "funnels stuff through a common location" and Maness said efficiency will increase as more locals understand its purpose.
With recognition from commissioner's court, she said, the Mineral Wells Chamber will send information concerning the DRT and its service to local businesses.
Most recently, the team has organized the collection of bottled water for Strawn following a blocked line that cut off water supply to the town.