When Thurston "Smitty" Smith took over as mayor of Hesperia, he declared the city would tap into one of its greatest resources - its small army of volunteers.


Following that vision, Hesperia is forming the Hesperia Citizens Corp., a collection of church, youth and community groups whose members will offer their time and resources to help residents in need.


"It's important to give back to the community, especially at this time," said Smith. "Instead of waving at your neighbor, how about asking if you can help them?"


According to city manager's assistant Kim Summers, the Corps will work in conjunction with Neighborhood Watch, the Citizens On Patrol and the county's Community Emergency Response Teams. Summers and other city staff members are also connecting with first responders, utility providers, non-profits and the Tri-Agency Committee to bring everyone together.


"We're looking at databases right now," Summers said. "You go through the city Web site, put in your interests and what skills you have. Then the citizen organizations would contact them."


While the Corps will be utilized during disasters such as a wildfire or earthquake, its members may be called upon to help a senior citizen who needs help maintaining his property or a low-income resident whose home needs painting. And there are a number of individuals and groups who have already shown a willingness to pitch in.


"This program should make it easier for those who are willing to help to help those who need it," said Kelly Malloy, Hesperia's public information officer.


Seeing the mayor's vision become a reality he been rewarding, Malloy added.


"Mayor Smith is really urging the community to come together and work as one," Malloy said. "We're really excited about it."


Malloy expects the the city council to formalize the formation of the Hesperia Citizens Corp later this month.


"I was always told that in a case of an emergency you take care of your home, then you take care of your neighbors and then you take care of the block," Smith said.