Alum helps bring ‘shelter’ around the world
By Chris Calderon
When a natural disaster strikes in countries around the world, survivors often find help in the form of a large green box filled with essentials put together by international disaster relief organization ShelterBox USA.
Heading up that organization is a Flagler alumnus and Communication major, Alan Monroe, ‘04, whose passion has always been giving back to communities on an international scale.
Monroe is the interim executive director of ShelterBox and leads the American affiliate for the organization.
“ShelterBox specializes in providing disaster-relief family tents, mosquito nets, water purifiers, warmth items and children’s activity kits to families affected by disasters,” he said.
ShelterBox has provided supplies to about 90 countries in an effort to aid disaster survivors affected by more than 250 different disasters. The organization has provided shelter and supplies to survivors of Hurricane Katrina, the Syrian Crisis, the earthquakes in Haiti and Nepal and many more international disasters.
Monroe first discovered ShelterBox during an International Rotary Convention in 2007 while he and his Rotaract Club were searching for an international volunteer project to partake in. When he arrived at the convention, the first thing he walked up to was a large green box.
“After I learned more about ShelterBox and what they did, I fell in love,” he said. “After about a year-long application and training process, I became a response team volunteer to deliver aid in the field, and my first deployment was Taiwan’s Typhoon Morakot in 2009.”
Monroe said giving back to communities has always been a part of him. He credits Flagler College for the communication skills he’s learned and for providing him a great setting to practice those skills in.
“Every day, there’s a new challenge when you’re deployed and there is not a rule book for disaster response,” he said. “You can’t go to page two for earthquakes or page 50 for a hurricane. The leadership skills that I learned at Flagler help me deal with problems and come up with solutions quickly while effectively communicating with the people of the country we are helping.”
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