The World is a Big Place… and We Need to Help Each Other in Every Way Possible
On March 11, 2011, a massive 9.0-magnitude earthquake, one of the five largest earthquakes ever recorded in world history, hit the eastern coast of Japan’s Tohoku region. This created an extremely destructive tsunami, with heights up to 133 feet, which hit Japan just minutes after the earthquake.
The 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami was one for the books. The tsunami destroyed houses, roads and utilities. Nuclear fall-out was a huge threat and initially displaced 300,000 people. More than 25,000 people died or were reported missing. Relief organizations in Japan were overwhelmed by the need, especially among survivors in Japan’s rural areas.
A local agency requested the assistance of Medical Teams International in their disaster response efforts. And since volunteers are at the core of Medical Teams International, they turned to Ian Yocum.
Ian is a Battalion Chief for Tualatin Valley & Fire Rescue, a fire protection and emergency services agency that serves more than 440,000 citizens in one of the fastest growing regions in Oregon. When the Indian Ocean Earthquake and Tsunami hit in 2004, he immediately signed up to volunteer with Medical Teams International. Ian has been integral in developing the non-profit’s Emergency Medical Services program by serving in disaster relief teams for Sri Lanka, Japan, Haiti, Cambodia and Uganda. He also helped recruit and establish 35 other technical experts as disaster relief volunteers for Medical Teams International.
More importantly, Ian introduced and developed a crucial strategic partnership between Medical Teams International and Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue, allowing the humanitarian aid non-profit to mobilize lifesaving care as soon as within 24 hours of a disaster striking. Ian and his colleagues not only give their personal time, they also use their own funds for travel expenses, allowing Medical Teams International to mobilize more funding for the people they serve.
Ian led two teams to Japan in 2011 with the mission of implementing an Incident Command System (ICS) and training members of the disaster relief partner (CRASH Japan) in its use. ICS, endorsed by the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), is a standardized, on-scene, all-hazards incident management approach that is internationally accepted and used.
Based on the system that Ian and his team members recommended and helped implement, CRASH Japan has been able to deploy more than 2,300 volunteers to date from their five base camps in Tono, Ichinoseki, Sendai, Nasu and Hitachi. These volunteers helped address physical needs by cleaning up and rebuilding houses, planting crops, distributing supplies, providing emotional support to those affected by trauma and caring for those not served by the formal relief response structure.
Including Japan, Ian has been on 7 missions with Medical Teams International and has every plan to keep doing so. When asked why he keeps coming back, Ian quickly responds: “It allows me to marry my three passions: my profession, my desire to help people and my love of travel.” “More importantly, it lets me teach my kids, Wyett (8) and Cooper (5), that the world is a big place… and we need to help each other in every way possible.’
More About This Charity
Volunteer of the Year
Ian Yocum for Medical Teams International
To demonstrate the love of Christ to people affected by disaster, conflict and poverty.
- This Volunteer helped 2,600 people in the past year
- Ian donated nearly 800 hours with services worth more than $16,700, Ian has been on 7 teams serving at least 3,700 adults & 3,225 kids