Galveston County Daily News, Jan. 9, 2007 When a major disaster strikes a community, a swift and well-prepared local response is crucial to saving lives, securing property and protecting the long-term economic vitality of the region. Local responders will always be on the front line during the critical 72 hours immediately after a catastrophe. Yet, more than five years after 9/11 and more than a year after Hurricane Katrina, our nation has yet to create a national blueprint of on-the-ground best practices for communities and the private sector to use in the wake of a terrorist attack or natural disaster. On Jan. 18, NCORP will convene a meeting of Galveston’s elected officials, emergency responders and leaders from academia, business, relief and faith-based organizations.  This regional event, co-hosted by the city of Galveston, county of Galveston, Galveston Chamber of Commerce, Galveston Economic Development Partnership, Port of Galveston and the University of Texas Medical Branch, will focus on local best practices, lessons learned and the preparedness challenges that remain. This guest viewpoint is by James Gilmore, the former governor of Virginia who now chairs the National Council on Readiness and Preparedness.