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First Crisis Corps Volunteers Depart to Help Rebuild Thailand After Deadly Tsunamis

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 17, 2005 – The first team of 8 Crisis Corps volunteers will leave March 18 for work in Thailand as part of the Peace Corps' relief measures in the wake of the recent tsunamis.

All returned Peace Corps volunteers, the five men and three women are leaving their homes, professional careers, friends and family to again answer the call to service. They will rely on their past Peace Corps experience, their developed Thai language skills and knowledge, as well as their professional skills in this Crisis Corps six month assignment.

The Thailand Crisis Corps volunteers will work in three assignment areas: database development, resource development, and construction. The database development volunteer will develop a database to track community damage assessments and reconstruction costs of local residents and their property in the disaster area. This database will also be of great use in the event of future disasters. The three resource development volunteers will be working with local governments to determine where the greatest need lies and identifying resources to help the local communities. They will also put together a local staff to insure progress will continue after the Crisis Corps team departs. The four construction volunteers will assist with the rebuilding of permanent housing for tsunami survivors and other construction projects, as well as packaging donated goods for delivery to families.

Six members of the first group of Thailand Crisis Corps volunteers are:

Kerry Broe - Massachusetts
Having first served as an English teacher in Thailand from 1990 to 1992, Kerry Broe will now serve as a resource development volunteer. Most recently Broe, 38, of Newton, Mass., has worked with the Hebrew Rehabilitation Center for the Aged (HRCA) as a research associate/analyst and a medical research associate. There she conducted research on osteoporosis, developed policy initiatives, and created databases. She received a bachelor's degree in political science from Wheaton College and a Master's of Public Health from the Boston University School of Public Health in the U.S. Peace Corps Health and Housing Fellowship Program.

David Davenport, Jr. - New Mexico
David Davenport, Jr., 59, of Santa Fe, N.M., will serve in construction during his time in Thailand, more than 30 years after he first served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Thailand. Davenport originally served from 1967 to 1971, as an English teacher and eventually as a Regional Peace Corps Representative. Davenport is an attorney and has taught law at the University of San Francisco's Cambodia Law and Democracy Project in Phnom Penh. Most recently, he was an Instructor of Law and Legal Advocacy for the Human Rights in Cambodia Project with the American Bar Association Law Initiative. He also has 35 years experience in furniture design, construction, and cabinet making. Davenport received a bachelor's degree in English Literature from Dartmouth College, an honours bachelor of arts in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from Oxford University, and a law degree from the University of New Mexico.

Jonathan Markham - Florida
Jonathan Markham, 38, of Miami Beach, Fla., first served in Thailand from 1990 to 1993 as an education and water and sanitation volunteer. For his Crisis Corps assignment, Markham will be working in resource development. After completing Peace Corps service, he remained in Thailand to become the Project Coordinator for the Mega-Cities Project in Bangkok and then the Special Projects Coordinator for Socio-Economic Consultants. More recently, Markham has worked as a vocational education graphic arts instructor at two middle schools in Dade County, Fla. He received a bachelor's degree from the College of William and Mary and a master's degree in art education from Florida International University.

Pa master's degree in art education from Florida International University.

Peter Montalbano - California
Peter Montalbano first served in Thailand from 1965 to 1967, where he was an English teacher and an elementary school teaching supervisor. Soon after, he worked as a training instructor at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, and then worked in recruiting for the Peace Corps at the University of California - Berkeley. Montalbano, 61, currently works as a Senior Programmer at the Kaiser Permanente Oakland Medical Center and had previously been a teacher and director of two schools in California, as well as a self-employed musician. He received a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in comparative literature from the University of California - Berkeley. His Crisis Corps assignment will be in database development.

Amanda Roelle - South Carolina
Having served as a community educator in Tonga from 2001 to 2003, Amanda Roelle, of Greenville, S.C., will now focus on construction in Thailand. In 2004, she volunteered in Italy with Volunteers for Peace & Legambiente, working to restore and maintain regional park grounds and sustainable permaculture. She has also participated as a volunteer in construction, agriculture and small business projects in communities in New Zealand, Denmark, France, the Czech Republic and Thailand. Currently, 27, she is working as an English as a Second Language (ESL) Tutor in Greenville. Roelle received a bachelor's degree in architecture from the Ohio State University.

Saundra Schimmelpfennig - Utah
Logan, Utah resident Saundra Schimmelpfennig, 35, will work as a resource development volunteer in Thailand. Schimmelpfennig originally served in Thailand from 1997 to 1999 as an environmental education volunteer. She has also worked as a Peace Corps recruiter for Utah State University. Schimmelpfennig's prior experience includes the founding of the Jordan River Cleanup project in Utah and the restoration of an urban nature park. She currently serves as a Naturalist for The Outdoor Science School in Santa Barbara. Schimmelpfennig received a bachelor's degree in environmental studies from Utah State University and a master's degree in education through the Peace Corps Fellows Program at Northern Arizona University.

Nearly 600 returned Peace Corps volunteers have taken the opportunity to use their invaluable skills and experience to address ongoing community needs in over 30 different countries since Crisis Corps' inception in 1996. Crisis Corps volunteers work on short term projects, utilizing the skills they learned as Peace Corps volunteers and in post service careers. To find out more about the Peace Corps' Crisis Corps program, please click here.

Since 1961, more than 178,000 volunteers have served in the Peace Corps, working in such diverse fields as education, health, HIV/AIDS education and prevention, information technology, business development, the environment, and agriculture. Peace Corps volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment.

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