By David Dawson
The Tennessee DR teams have been needed in multiple locations — both in their home state and well beyond — after a series of weather-related incidents, beginning with the devastating flooding in Humphreys County in August, followed by Hurricane Ida’s destruction in Louisiana.
Here’s an update on both situations:
Deployed in multiple locations across Louisiana, the Tennessee Baptist DR units have served a variety of roles. The list of teams have included: water rescue, chain saw crews, flood recovery, bucket truck and feeding crews. There has also been at least four truckloads of supplies from God’s Warehouse delivered to those who are hurting — or in need — in the state.
“They have accomplished a lot of work and a lot of projects,” said Wes Jones, disaster relief specialist for the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board. “Many of the 12 locations (in La.) are now closing, and our DR teams have been able to assist in so many ways.”
More than 130 Louisiana Baptist churches sustained damage in the storm. Jones noted that any churches or associations who would like to adopt and/or partner with one of these damaged churches can do so by e-mailing Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We would love to be able to help some of these churches get back up and going,” said Jones. “(Those interested in assisting with this) can contact me, and I will get them the contact information on how to become a partner.”
Jones said flood recovery teams are also needed in the New York City and the northern New Jersey area. Those who are interested in volunteering in those areas can contact Jones, he said.
The efforts are ongoing in Waverly, where many residents are still recovering from the sudden flooding on Aug. 21.
More than 17 inches of rain fell in areas of Humphreys County in a matter of hours, resulting in more than 20 reported deaths and immeasurable damage. Tennessee DR teams sprang into action just hours after the flooding, and are now in the process of transitioning into the second phase of the recovery efforts.
“We hoped (after the initial efforts) that we would quickly be able to roll into a rebuild program,” said Jones. “It is actually taking longer than some would like but we are moving forward.”
John and Kaye Thomas will be overseeing the rebuild operation and will train others in what is needed. The DR teams will be stationed in the educational building at First Baptist Church, Waverly, which has served as the hub of the recovery efforts.
Jones said the following needs remain in Waverly, and is calling out for teams that are available to help in these areas:
• Flood recovery and mold remediation. Jones noted that teams can plan for day trips or can stay overnight, if needed.
• Individuals or groups with construction project planning experience. These teams are needed to help put together estimates on the materials and other general costs for rebuilding homes in the area.
• Individuals with an electrical license. Jones said this is an urgent need, and said that many homes need complete rewiring.
• Reconstruction teams. These teams will be needed in the weeks ahead (after some of the above projects are completed) to do the following types of things: insulation, sheetrock, finishing, laying of subflooring, flooring, plumbing, along with heating and air.
Jones said anyone interested in helping in Waverly can contact him for assignments. He noted that, those who are interested in “rebuild projects” do not have to be trained in DR to serve on the team. B&R