Faces of the Army: Valerie LeBlanc

Apr 9, 2024

Meet Valerie - the Emergency Disaster Services Long-Term Recovery Program Specialist for The Salvation Army. Her job title may be long, but her commitment to helping families devastated by Hurricane Ida in 2021 is even longer. Despite the storm happening three years ago, Valerie remains steadfast in her efforts to assist the more than 25 affected parishes. She continues to impact the lives of those who need it most with positivity and passion for service.

"I love what I do," Valerie stated. "My work is so meaningful and rewarding. Every day, I work with the Disaster Case Management program to help families get approvals for the items they might need to recover. It might be the paperwork for appliances, furnishings, or basic necessities. I help get those items paid for."

When Hurricane Ida made landfall in August of 2021, the devastation from this Category 4 Hurricane was widespread, causing 87 deaths in the US, with 30 of those occurring in Louisiana alone. With almost $18 billion in insured losses throughout the state, estimates indicate that the actual damage was somewhere between $27 to $40 billion, much of it affecting poor and underinsured families. The extensive damage has made Hurricane Ida the second most destructive hurricane in Louisiana history, right behind Katrina.

"Many of the people who come to us for help have little to no resources for rebuilding," Valerie said. "While some agencies might have helped for a while, they tend to leave after a disaster, making it more difficult for local residents to get the resources they need long term."

LeBlanc takes pride in that even after all this time, The Salvation Army is still on the scene, working with local partners to help provide recovery.

"We want people to know we are still here, working hard to assist and help." LeBlanc declared. "We were one of the first on the scene when the Hurricane hit, and we will be one of the last relief agencies to leave. We want to be here as long as the recovery takes."

Valerie LeBlanc has a long history of working with non-profits, and she has brought those skills to her work with The Salvation Army. "Over the years, I have worked with other relief organizations during natural disasters, so the experience I gained has been a plus. I think the best way for communities to recover is for everyone to work together."

Join us in celebrating the selfless work of Valerie LeBlanc and others who are carrying out the mission of The Salvation Army. Thank you to all the officers, staff, and volunteers who serve as the "army" behind The Army, making an impact through their Christian service every day.

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