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May 28, 2013

ULM’s Retired and Senior Volunteer Program members graduate from CERT training

Through the University of Louisiana at Monroe’s Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), 22 RSVP members completed Community Emergency Response (CERT) Team training, allowing them to provide critical assistance during emergency response efforts.

Dr. Eric Pani, Vice President for Academic Affairs at ULM expressed his gratitude for the volunteers.

“It is really great to see retired seniors be able to make a difference,” he said. “It’s people like you who will be called upon in times of need.”

Dr. Denny Ryman, Dean of the College of Health Sciences spoke to the volunteers about his time as an emergency responder and expanded on Pani’s sentiment, letting the graduates know that they should be proud of the achievement.

Among the graduates was a ULM spring 2013 graduate, Jonathan W. Jopling of Monroe, who received a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. Jopling was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Air Force after graduation and will report to Malmstrom Air Force Base in Great Falls, Mont.

Other graduates included, Jim Addison; John and Frankie Baker; Bruce Jones; Wayne Bryant; Terry Finley; Jerry and Sue Ford; Lloyd Gill; Jim Greenlaw; Marilynn Lewis; Frank Picou; Jere Pyburn; Connie Richardson; Jim and Betty Rigal; Glen Scioneaux; John Smith; Don Spencer; John Tannehill;  and Jerry Wall. 

About RSVP:
Organized through ULM’s Department of Gerontology, RSVP recruits volunteers aged 55 and over for service opportunities in their communities that match their skills and availability.

In Ouachita and Union Parishes RSVP is a very diverse organization.  Approximately 600 volunteers give almost 125,000 hours of volunteer work each year.

Many RSVP volunteers work in police service or as CERT volunteers.  These trained volunteers work with police, firemen, and other emergency officials to help assure a safe community. They also patrol schools and neighborhoods, through a partnership with the Ouachita Parish Sherriff’s Office.

About CERT:
According to, the CERT program educates people about disaster preparedness for hazards that may impact their area and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations.

Using the training learned in the classroom and during exercises, CERT members can assist others in their neighborhood or workplace following an event when professional responders are not immediately available to help.

CERT members also are encouraged to support emergency response agencies by taking a more active role in emergency preparedness projects in their community.

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