Monday, June 25, 2012

Averting Diaster-One Box at a Time!

Gary Olsen received his Bachelor's Degree in Architecture in 1969 and Master’s degree with Highest Honors in Architecture from the U of I in 1976. After graduation, Gary served two years in the US Army as an officer in the Corps of Engineers with tours of duty at Ft. Belvoir, Va., Ft. Benning, Ga. He was also deployed overseas to the Republic of Vietnam in 1970 where he was the Depot Engineer and Facilities Chief in Danang, RVN, with quarters on China Beach.  Before and after his military service, Gary worked for the Champaign Architectural Firm, Laz, Edwards and Dankert.Gary was licensed as an Architect in 1974 and started his architectural firm, now Olsen + Associates Architects, in 1976. Gary's firm has completed over 2,000 projects involving Historic Preservation,Church, Library, Commercial, Residential and Adaptive Reuse Architecture. He has served in many leadership capacities throughout east central Illinois including Chair of the City of Champaign, Historic Preservation Commission, CCDC (Champaign County Design and Conservation Corporation) and  President of the Central Illinois Chapter of the AIA (American Institute of Architects).

In the last few years he has become a promoter (disciple) of "Modular" Architecture.  He completed his first Modular building, an apartment project that houses 96 students, last year in Champaign. His design for a Modular Fraternity House is currently underway in Urbana.   He is currently involved in the design of a 48 unit housing project located on the site of a former private swimming pool on Windsor Road in Urbana.

ShelterBox Mission:
The mission of ShelterBox is to provide safety and dignity to families who lose everything when disasters strike.  While many aid organizations provide food, water and medical care, Shelterbox gives immediate assistance in the form of proper shelter during the critical period following an earthquake, tsunami, landslide flood or other natural and man-made disasters.  Each ShelterBox supplies an extended family with a tent and life-saving equipment to use while they are displaced or homeless.  The contents are tailored depending on the nature and location of the disaster.

History of ShelterBox
ShelterBox began as an idea of one man, Tom Henderson, for a Millennium (year 2000) project for his Rotary Club in Cornwall, England.  After buying a big Green PVC Box at a hardware store in his local village, he set out to fill it with things that he felt would be useful when a family faced a natural or man- made disaster. After several weeks of gathering and discarding things for the Box at his home, Tom felt he had the right combination of disaster relief equipment and supplies in the Box to bring it to his Club for their approval as the Millenium Project that would last forever.  He began finding manufacturers for the equipment and supplies, finding volunteers to fill the boxes and arranged transport to the nearest airport.  Tom also arranged for volunteers of first responders to accompany the ShelterBoxes to the disaster area.
Shelterbox Deployment Around the World

About  150 ShelterBoxes were deployed with volunteers forming the first ShelterBox  Response Teams ((SRTs)  in 2002. That number more than doubled to 350 in the third year.  The great Tsunami of 2004 quickly exhausted our supplies, but we reached tens of thousands of people by purchasing more tents, and equipment worldwide. We answered the call when Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, and we still have 330,000 earthquake survivors living in SB designed tents in Haiti today because there is still no better place for them to live.

America became the first affiliate country to join the ShelterBox Trust in 2002 and now 25 affiliate countries throughout the world have joined to form ShelterBox International .   ShelterBox USA has emerged as the worldwide leader and largest affiliate, training volunteers to become Ambassadors, sponsoring partnerships, and has become the most prolific fundraiser for disaster relief of all the affiliates.  Since 2000 ShelterBox has provided more than 111,000 ShelterBoxes to over 900,000 of the world’s most vulnerable people.
Purchasing a ShelterBox 
Each ShelterBox costs $1000 which includes all equipment, transportation to the disaster site and a team of volunteers who implement the aid.  Smaller donations are combined to purchase a box, and each donor is supplied a tracking number so that they can see where their Shelterbox is being sent.

To watch the interview with Gary Olsen CLICK HERE

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