On Sept. 13, Eileen O’Brien, director of operations for the Archdiocesan Catholic Center, was invited to the White House to receive an award for Building Resilience in Diverse Communities.

Three years ago, Eileen began working with the American Red Cross to help prepare communities in case of disaster. In June 2015, the archdiocese signed with the Red Cross after attorney Marina Macchiagodena wrote and negotiated the agreement, which is being used as a template for other dioceses.

Under the agreement with the Red Cross, the archdiocese will provide the emergency location, and the Red Cross will handle all the expenses of providing food, supplies, security and staffing in the event of an emergency. The agreement will greatly increase the number of emergency shelters in Los Angeles.

While in Washington, O’Brien also participated in a conference on emergency preparedness and outreach from Sept. 13 to Sept. 14. “It was wonderful to go to Washington, D.C., and see all the good work that other people are doing across the country in various community-based organizations and in various religious-based organizations,” O’Brien said.

As for the award O’Brien received, she said, “I was very proud of it. I was very happy because I thought it was very good work.”

The Individual and Community Preparedness Division of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are sponsors of the award.