Dr ‘Tree Climber’ James Brown Recognized

By Connie Davis Bushey
News Editor, Baptist and Reflector

James Brown

KNOXVILLE — He’s known as the “Tennessee Squirrel” or the tree climber among Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers. Children seeing him swinging around in a tree with ropes have called him Spiderman.

He is James Brown, a Tennessee Baptist disaster relief volunteer. Brown not only climbs and swings from ropes in trees, he manhandles a chain saw. The trees have been damaged by storms or fires and need repair or removal. Many times the trees are reached by volunteers working from bucket trucks, but sometimes the trucks can’t be used. Continue reading

Jones Surveys Damage

Wes Jones, disaster relief specialist for the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board, recently surveyed the storm damage at the home of Will and Kristi Johnson in Brentwood. Though a massive response was not needed, a team from Cumberland Baptist Association, based in Clarksville, traveled to Brentwood to cut the downed trees and clear debris from the home.  Jones said Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief units are gearing up in order to respond if needed as storms move across the state this spring. Jones encourages Tennessee Baptists to let the TBDR office know of areas where volunteers can be used. Call Jones at 615-371-7927 or Elizabeth Holmes at 615-371-7926.

— Photo by Royce DeGrie

Mattresses Sent To LA. Flood Victims

From Baptist and Reflector

MORRISTOWN — Nolachucky Baptist Association disaster relief, based here, with help from Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief, is delivering four tractor trailer loads or about 236 sets of mattresses and box springs to Louisiana flood victims, reported Don Owen, director of disaster relief.

Owen learned of the need at the end of November from a ministry partner and Louisiana Baptist, Johnny Huffman of Covington, La. Huffman knew that Nolachucky Association had sent mattresses to Israel through the Harvest of Israel project of the association and First Baptist Church, Morristown. Continue reading

Tennessee Baptist Assistance Continues

From Baptist and Reflector

TBC President Steve Freeman surveys the damage to property immediately behind Roaring Fork Baptist Church. Several homes near the church were destroyed, four of which belonged to church members. Freeman has called on Tennessee Baptists to give $20 for tragedy to help in the disaster relief effort. Contributions can be made at TNDisasterRelief.org/contributions.

TBC President Steve Freeman surveys the damage to property immediately behind Roaring Fork Baptist Church. Several homes near the church were destroyed, four of which belonged to church members. Freeman has called on Tennessee Baptists to give $20 for tragedy to help in the disaster relief effort. Contributions can be made at TNDisasterRelief.org/contributions. -Photo by Chris Turner

GATLINBURG — Tennessee Baptist Mission Board (TBMB) leaders are grateful for the quick response, both financially and with physical assistance, following the wildfires which struck the Smoky Mountains in late November.

What’s more, help will continue in the months to come, leaders agreed.

“I am thankful for the quick response of our disaster relief volunteers at the very start of this tragedy in Sevier County to meet the immediate needs of first responders and evacuees,” said Randy C. Davis, president and executive director of the TBMB. Continue reading

East Tennessee Fires

gatlinburg-pigeon-forge-mapAs many of you have heard by now, fires are ravaging parts of East TN.  Especially hard hit areas are Pigeon Forge to Gatlinburg.  Gatlinburg was evacuated and parts have burned.

Kaye Thomas, one our Disaster Relief leaders, contacted the mayor of Sevierville and he requested that we start feeding this morning.  They worked through the night with the help and support of the folks at First Baptist Church, Sevierville to be up and feeding 1,500 this morning.  They are preparing the food at the church and Red Cross is delivering it to the shelters.  We have some initial people going over this morning to see other ways we might help.  Kaye is working with FBC Sevierville to set up their laundry unit there at the church. Continue reading

Gatlinburg Fires – Preliminary Information

gatlinburg-mapAll units are asked to be on ALERT for possible response to the East TN area as a result of the fires that are going on all over the mountains. Please pray for those evacuating and all those responding to fight the fires. Pray especially that the rains now leaving Middle TN will make it to East TN and sit on the mountains for a while and push back these fires.

Georgia DR Efforts Winding Down

Baptist and Reflector

SAVANNAH, Ga. — Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief operations at Southside Baptist Church in Savannah are winding down, said Wes Jones, disaster relief specialist for the Tennessee Baptist Convention.

The feeding unit of Sullivan Baptist Association, based in Kingsport, was sent to Savannah last week in response to Hurricane Matthew. A shower trailer unit from Holston Baptist Association, based in Johnson City, along with chain saw teams from both associations; Cumberland Baptist Association, based in Clarksville; and Knox County Baptist Association, based in Knoxville, have been on site. Continue reading

Hurricane Matthew Response Update

Image: NOAA.gov

Image: NOAA.gov

There is a reason why we try and teach fluidity in the Introduction to Disaster Relief class and this week has been an example of that!

At this writing, Hurricane Matthew is still pouring rain on the states of South and North Carolina. It was slower in arriving in Florida and moving up the coast than originally thought. Then when it hit, it stayed offshore as it moved up the coast. As a result, they are discovering that the damage in Florida was not as great as thought. Originally they had asked 9 kitchen units to prepare to respond and TN was one of these kitchens. After almost a week of planning and preparation, we received word late yesterday that we would not be needed for response in Florida but, they wanted to keep us on standby to possibly respond in one of the other affected states. Continue reading

‘A Lot Of Humanity Is Suffering’ — DR Volunteer

By Connie Davis Bushey
News Editor, Baptist and Reflector

Kay Thompson of Hermitage Hills Baptist Church, Hermitage, in metropolitan Nashville, prepares to do some laundry in the shower/laundry unit of the church in Gonzalez, La. Thompson is part of the Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief effort to help flood victims in Louisiana.

Kay Thompson of Hermitage Hills Baptist Church, Hermitage, in metropolitan Nashville, prepares to do some laundry in the shower/laundry unit of the church in Gonzalez, La. Thompson is part of the Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief effort to help flood victims in Louisiana.

MOUNT JULIET — “A lot of humanity is suffering because so many people are without their homes,” said Don Kohanski, disaster relief director of Hermitage Hills Baptist Church, Hermitage, who has served recently in Gonzalez, La., leading a shower/laundry operation.

“What we are doing is being backup for the teams who are really doing the work and helping the public. … We’re trying to help the people, giving them some kind of relief.”

The shower/laundry unit and its volunteers are set up at First Baptist Church, Gonzalez. The unit began serving Aug. 19.

Kohanski described seeing neighborhoods of houses in Gonzalez with almost everything that was in the house pulled out and placed on the street including insulation and drywall. He could see water lines on houses showing how high the water had been. Though most of the flood waters are down, he heard of residents who still had water, up to four feet, in their houses. Gonzalez is located about 25 miles southeast of Baton Rouge. Continue reading