CA: Southborough emergency response teams restructure (Updated)

Above: CERT/MRC members train in the woods near the reservoir last spring
(photo by Carol Willoughby)

The Community Advocate reports that Southborough’s Community Emergency Response Team/Medical Reserve Corp (CERT/MRC) are re-structuring into separate organizations.

In 2006, the two organizations united under single management. Now it is reverting to its old reporting structure. CERT reports to the Fire Department and MRC to the Board of Health.

CA reports:

[Neal] Aspesi, director of operations for the Southborough Emergency Management Agency, is the CERT director, and Mark Spruill is its coordinator. Leslie Chamberlain, board of health nurse, is the MRC director, and Carol Willoughby is its coordinator. Willoughby, who formerly coordinated both CERT and MRC, said she welcomes the restructuring. . .

The unified mission of the Southborough CERT/MRC is to educate and train volunteers in emergency preparedness, readiness, response and recovery, as well as public health preparedness and response. They also recruit medical and non-medical volunteers who are willing to train and assist with mass care, large-scale incidents, and disasters.

Volunteers for the organizations have helped in times of crisis (like shelters and centers in weather emergencies) and assisted at annual town events for First Aid needs.

[Willoughby] estimates they currently have about 40 volunteers, half of whom are active participants.

“We’re looking for new members,” she said. “It’s a strictly volunteer situation. They don’t need to be deployed if they don’t want to be deployed. The members who are active are always available and there for us – from the road races to a weather incident. The others are nurses and physicians who would be there if we had a large-scale incident and really needed them.”

For more information on volunteering, visit

For the full CA article, click here.

Update (1/131/14 8:22 am): Neil Aspesi, Director of Operations for Southborough Emergency Management, asked me to correct characterizing this as a “split” and provided more information:

The Southborough CERT & MRC is not separating or splitting. The full team will still remain as one untied CERT/MRC joint team working towards the same mission goals. The changes are strictly internal restructuring of how the team reports and operates to improve efficiency & effectiveness. While each group has specific missions (i.e. MRC has a medical focus), each group compliments each other and often work in cross-mission roles. Seeing the benefits of syncing these two teams, Southborough is one of the only few communities in the Commonwealth that officially merged them into one entity. However, under state regulations there still needs to remain two independent parent/supporting organizations; Emergency Management for CERT & Board of Health for MRC. The men & women of the Southborough CERT/MRC are a dedicated group of citizen volunteers with the mission of helping their community and the Commonwealth state-wide during times of need and augmenting the Towns’ Emergency Services as requested during emergencies and non-emergency events.

In addition, the Southborough CERT/MRC is expanding to create a new “TeenCERT” program for high school age young adults. This program/team will be one of only three in Massachusetts and is expected to greatly enhance the capabilities of the current CERT/MRC Team. 

The new re-structure will be rolled-out at a Southborough CERT/MRC meeting on Thursday, February 6, 2014 at 6:30pm. The meeting will be held at the Senior Center (9 Cordaville Road) and include refreshments.

We are ALWAYS LOOKING FOR MORE VOLUNTEERS for a wide-spectrum of roles; from wide-area search & rescue, to nurses, to sheltering, to administrative assistants, to public relations/education – this team has roles for everyone. — Any Southborough or local area individuals who are interested in learning more or joining the team are more than welcome to attend the meeting on 2/6/14 — Anyone interested in attending this meeting or joining anytime in the future please contact Neal Aspesi at or 508-485-3235 (fire dept).”

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9 years ago

He should have asked you to spell his name correctly its Neal

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