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Volunteer Highlight: Ian Yocum

by User Not Found | Mar 17, 2014

Volunteers are essential to Medical Teams International.  This month we are proud to highlight volunteer Ian Yocum, who has served on 5 disaster response teams and 2 EMS Capacity Training teams, providing care for at least 5,200 adults and 4,725 children.  He has donated over 1,000 hours to Medical Teams International, with services worth more than $25,000!

Ian is a Battalion Chief for Tualatin Valley & Fire Rescue, a fire protection and emergency services agency that serves more than 440,000 citizens in one of the fastest growing regions in Oregon. When the Indian Ocean Earthquake and Tsunami hit in 2004, he immediately signed up to volunteer with Medical Teams International.

Ian has been integral in developing our non-profit’s Emergency Medical Services program by serving in disaster relief teams for Sri Lanka, Japan, Haiti, Cambodia and Uganda. He also helped recruit and establish 35 other technical experts as disaster relief volunteers for Medical Teams International. More importantly, Ian introduced and developed a crucial strategic partnership between Medical Teams International and Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue, allowing the MTI to mobilize lifesaving care as soon as within 24 hours of a disaster striking. Ian and his colleagues not only give their personal time, they also use their own funds for travel expenses, allowing Medical Teams International to mobilize more funding for the people they serve.



Ian has been an integral part of implementing an Incident Command System (ICS) into MTI's First-In teams in disaster situations. In 2011, a massive 9.0-magnitude earthquake, one of the five largest earthquakes ever recorded in world history, hit the eastern coast of Japan’s Tohoku region. This created an extremely destructive tsunami, with heights up to 133 feet, which hit Japan just minutes after the earthquake. Ian led two teams to Japan with the mission of implementing ICS and training members of the disaster relief partner (CRASH Japan) in its use. ICS, endorsed by the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), is a standardized, on-scene, all-hazards incident management approach that is internationally accepted and used.  

Ian Yocum in the Philippines, Nov. 2013


In addition to being team leader for our first team to respond to the Japan tsunami, Ian was also the team leader on our first team for our response to Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines.  Altogether Ian has been on 7 missions with Medical Teams International and has every plan to keep doing so. When asked why he keeps coming back, Ian quickly responds: “It allows me to marry my three passions: my profession, my desire to help people and my love of travel.”

“More importantly, it lets me teach my kids, Wyett (10) and Cooper (7), that the world is a big place and that we need to help each other. Volunteering gets your out of your usual ‘comfort zone’ and makes you become a more well-rounded person.”

Join us in thanking Ian for his generosity and compassion as well as his commitment to serving people in need.  Thank you!

Original story by Chiqui Flowers