Londonderry residents Bill and Dennie Dyer have received, for the third year in a row, the President’s Volunteer Service Award for their efforts with ShelterBox USA. This year’s award recognizes their efforts in 2013 to assist disaster survivors, and was announced in advance of National Volunteer Week, April 6-12.
“We’re very honored – it’s not very often you win it three times in a row,” Dennie Dyer said.
Dennie Dyer explained that Shelter Box USA provides boxes filled with items needed by people who have experienced natural disasters, political upheavals and any other situation that would cause them to be without shelter.
Each box contains a 14-foot-wide by 14-footlong by 6-foot 8-inch tall tent, a cookstove for burning either wood or flammable liquid, pots and pans, dishes, mosquito netting if needed, ground cloth, blankets, tool kit, water purification system and warm hat and scarf if appropriate. For kids, chalk, coloring books and crayons are included. ShelterBox USA does not provide food, fuel and water and does not charge for the boxes.
Dyer said the box holds enough for up to 10 people. The Dyers took action for ShelterBox after Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines and for the Syrian refugee crisis.
The couple began volunteering with ShelterBox USA when their son was an Eagle Scout. They said that approximately 85 cents of every dollar donated goes toward the boxes, with the remainder used for administration and expenses. They work a lot with Rotary Clubs, as the founder of ShelterBox in England was a Rotarian, but they will talk to any group who would like to learn more about the program.
“The key to the organization is that almost everyone is a volunteer,” Dennie Dyer said.
Dennie retired from Hewlett-Packard, and Bill Dyer is retired from AT&T, where he was a purchasing manager.
For information on ShelterBox, visit shelterboxusa.org.