Brookville woman finds new calling after retirement

She started volunteering with Brookville’s community emergency response team (CERT) program in 2004 and has served as its coordinator since 2009.

Howdieshell enjoys spending time with her two miniature schnauzers and reading.

She also cares for her mother full time.

“CERT offers something you can use throughout your life and you never know when you will be hit with a disaster,” Howdieshell said. “It will help you take care of yourself, your family, neighbors and community.”

What she does: Howdieshell is coordinator of the CERT program. She organizes the volunteers, training, finances, fundraising, tracks equipment and plans mock disasters. CERT also provides a first aid tent at the Brookville community picnic.

How she got involved: “I retired from the base in 2004, and in 2003 I was looking for things to become involved in to give back to my community. There was an article in the Brookville Star about starting the CERT program in Brookville. I went to the training and became the assistant CERT coordinator.”

What kind of qualifications should a person have to get involved with this group: “There are no special qualifications. We will train anyone and ask that the person be 14 years or older for basic training.”

Most satisfying part about volunteering: “I really think volunteering is somewhat self-satisfying to give back. It makes you feel good to help others.”

Most memorable moment of volunteering: “When Hurricane Ivan went through and so many people lost power in Brookville and surrounding areas, we helped the fire department and police department go door to door to assess any special needs. We also opened a day center at Golden Gate Park to cook hot meals, charge batteries, charge cell phones and provide water.”

Contact information: Phone: 833-5690; Website: or

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