FEMA Apologizes for Incident With Church Group

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A FEMA worker has been transferred from his post in Mississippi after he told church workers they had to remove their Salvation Army t-shirts in order to appear in the photographs he was taking.

The photographer in Yazoo City, Miss., came to document a church group's efforts of cleaning up roadside debris left by deadly tornadoes that hit the area last month.

The volunteers from Crossgates Baptist Church said the photographer told them to take off the shirts, because he did not want the logo of a faith-based group in the picture.

The incident has triggered an investigation.

FEMA said it is all a big misunderstanding and that the government agency welcomes the participation of faith-based groups.

"He used poor judgment, because he didn't want the logo or volunteer organization," said Michael Bolch, regional FEMA coordinator. "It had nothing to do with the religious affiliation. He used poor judgment. We put a lot of value in faith-based organizations. If it weren't for them and other volunteers, disaster victims would have a hard time. We can only do so much. The community has to pull together to help disaster survivors."

FEMA administrator Craig Fugate said the photographer's actions do not reflect FEMA's policies and the agency has apologized to the church and to the Salvation Army.

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