St. Louis Park man responds to Hurricane Harvey

A St. Louis Park man has returned to Minnesota after serving as a leader of a team responding to the devastation of Hurricane Harvey.

Merle Hillman is a member of the National Disaster Medical System’s Disaster Medical Assistance Team.

The federal government operates the system, which provides medical care and mortuary assistance when states request it after disasters or public health emergencies, according to a National Disaster Medical System statement. It is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Personnel from the entity and officers with the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps served about 4,900 people affected by Hurricane Harvey by Sept. 7.

“Hurricane Harvey has put people’s health and lives in jeopardy, and (system) members are answering the call of duty to help residents affected by this disaster,” said Ron Miller, the organization’s acting director, in a statement. “When a state requests our assistance, we will be there to serve until (system) services are no longer needed.”

Members of the system are serving people affected by the hurricane at a federal medical station at a Houston convention center and at other sites near Houston. Teams include doctors, nurses, veterinarians, paramedics, personnel who respond to fatalities and other staff members. About 5,000 people in more than 70 response teams assist the system.

“Although they hail from communities nationwide, when deployed they are federal government employees working as part of a coordinated federal response,” a federal statement notes.

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