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May 23rd
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Tzu Chi Named NVOAD Member of the Year

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Tzu Chi USA was named Member of the Year at the 21st National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD) Conference.

NVOAD is a network of organizations that provide disaster relief in the United States. Its 110 members represent the best of American volunteer organizations. Tzu Chi officially became a member in October 2006. It is the only Buddhist organization in the network. The blue and white uniforms of Tzu Chi volunteers and the way they have quietly inspired a culture of doing good deeds are widely respected by people in the US.

The Member of the Year Award is only given to one organization each year. This year there were five nominees. Tzu Chi was nominated by Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). In their nomination, FEMA pointed out that in their disaster relief efforts in 2012, Tzu Chi was a national role model in many ways. They inspired a culture of gratitude, respect and love in relief efforts and doing good deeds. They also promoted environmental protection as a way to care for the earth among the disaster victims and their communities.

On May 14, the award ceremony was held at the NVOAD Conference in Portland, Oregon. As the emcee announced Tzu Chi as the recipient of the award, a picture of Master Cheng Yen was shown on the screens, followed by pictures from the Buddha Bathing Ceremony at Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall with more than 10,000 participants and a heartwarming scene of Tzu Chi volunteers serving hot meals after Hurricane Sandy. These images moved the 450-plus representatives from other disaster relief organizations and they showed their support and admiration for Tzu Chi.

NVOAD plays a role in connecting the federal government, non-profit agencies, religious organizations, companies and academia. It has a significant impact on establishing and promoting education for disaster response planning. Kim Burgo, an NVOAD director, visited Tzu Chi Global Headquarters in Hualien in July 2010.

Since 2012, Tzu Chi has participated in disaster relief efforts after Hurricane Sandy, the Texas fertilizer plant explosion, floods in the Midwest, and tornadoes across the country, as well as recycling efforts in American Samoa.

In 1985, Tzu Chi volunteers living abroad established a chapter in the US and extended the reach of Tzu Chi missions overseas. Currently, the organization has one national office, eight regional offices, 100 local offices, and over 200,000 members in the United States.

Each time a major disaster strikes, Tzu Chi volunteers provide both immediate comfort and long-term support for the victims after the disaster. Their actions have touched and are respected by the American government's disaster response personnel. They are a great partner for FEMA.