The most sustained roles that the WPA played related to the construction/engineering and service projects that it undertook. But this huge government-sponsored program, with millions of individuals under its umbrella, also offered a veritable army of workers that could be mobilized into action to help combat the effects and aftermaths of all types of natural disasters. WPA workers were at the forefront of efforts to deal with many such disasters, working alongside representatives from other government agencies, national guard and military units, local fire and police units, and private relief agencies. Unofficially nicknamed the "Shock Troops of Disaster," (audio clip, 88k) the WPA had some of its finest hours in these great times of need for many communities. Whether responding to crises involving floods, fires, hurricanes, or drought, workers of the WPA provided countless hours of service in an effort to help individuals and communities weather these disasters and recover from them. (video clip, 1.1MB) An outstanding example of the Indiana WPA's role in disaster relief came in 1937, when it was mobilized to provide assistance to a number of communities in the Ohio River valley which had suffered the ravages of flooding.

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