STORY UPDATED UPDATED 10/12/15
MOUNT JULIET —Three Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief have responded to the historic flooding in South Carolina, reported Wes Jones, Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief specialist.
Though Tennessee is not in the region organized by Southern Baptist Disaster Relief to be the first responders to disasters in South Carolina, Tennessee was asked for help by North Carolina Baptist Disaster Relief, explained Jones. North Carolina Baptist DR is leading efforts in the northeast part of South Carolina, he explained.
“It’s important to help our sister states when they need us whether we’re in the region or not,” said Jones.
Due to continued rain and additional flooding caused by dams that have failed, all three teams, once scheduled for different locations, will be based at First Baptist Church, Manning, S.C.
The Tennessee teams are led by Carolyn Watson of Cumberland Baptist Association; Jim Ramey of Sullivan Baptist Association, and Doyle Pittman of Hamilton County Baptist Association. The teams arrived in Manning on Oct. 11 and will begin work this week, Jones said.
Dams are continuing to fail in South Carolina after Hurricane Joaquin passed near the U.S. The weather pattern the hurricane created dumped a historic deluge on South Carolina Oct. 3-5. Flooding is widespread and the rains are blamed for 17 weather-related deaths in North and South Carolina.
Jones said DR leaders are “still in the process of assessing what their needs are so they’ll know best how to respond as the water recedes.”
Assessment leaders are “slowly asking for help from other regions,” he added.
“According to Randy Creamer at South Carolina Disaster Relief, they’re in the response for the long haul. They’ll be there through the clean up and there for the rebuild, which means they’ll be helping folks put their lives back together. Volunteers, of course, will share Christ as they bring help, healing, and hope to those affected,” stated Jones.
TBDR volunteers “need to be ready when they’re needed,” Jones advised. That might include taking an online recertification course, he noted, at www.tndisasterrelief.org or www.disasterrelieftraining.com.
Watson, who has served in TBDR for 14 years, said, “When I prayed for God to give me a ministry, this is what He gave me.”
DR is very difficult work but it’s a “passion” of hers, she added. That is how many DR volunteers describe it, she added. One of the strengths of DR is that the volunteers keep returning to help victims, she observed.
“Send out the prayers that we can minister to the people; that they’ll be there for us to talk to,” concluded Watson.
To support the effort, people can give to the South Carolina Flooding Disaster Relief Fund, at www.tndisasterrelief.org or to the Tennessee Baptist Convention, P.O. Box 728, Brentwood, TN 37027, designated for the fund.