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. -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
I want to thank everyone for their prayers, giving, patience and willingness to serve those affected by the fires. I also want to thank those groups who went and assisted after the tornados struck different parts of the state. That did not get as much press because of the situation in Gatlinburg, but I am very grateful for the teams that responded.
The area around Gatlinburg was kept mostly closed off to the public until last Friday. For more than the first week, first responders were the only ones let in and after that only home and business owners. Lest you think your Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief personnel have not been doing anything during this time, here is a brief update on what has been happening… Continue reading
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
Baptist and Reflector
BRENTWOOD — Tennessee Baptists have been asked to respond in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew.
Hurricane Matthew struck Haiti on Oct. 4, causing massive destruction before hitting Cuba later that night. The damage in Cuba was not as extensive as first expected but some areas were hard hit.
In Haiti, at least 478 deaths have been attributed to the massive storm and the number is expected to rise. Continue reading
From Baptist and Reflector
NASHVILLE — The Weather Channel is predicting that Hurricane Matthew will have a “catastrophic” effect on Haiti. The hurricane, which is predicted to make landfall on Oct. 4, also is expected to impact Jamaica, Cuba, and the Bahamas, according to the weather network. Continue reading
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.
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
Slow-moving storms are causing record flooding and significant damage as they move across South Louisiana. Thousands of residents have evacuated, at least three people have died and there is significant property damage and loss to more than 50,000 homes. At least three interstates are closed by the flooding of the Amite River and much of Louisiana State University’s campus is covered by water.
The rising water is the result of more than 27 inches of rainfall over a 36-hour period near the city of Baker, just northeast of Baton Rouge. Continue reading
By Lonnie Wilkey, Editor
Baptist and Reflector
BRENTWOOD – Retired Tennessee Baptist Convention staff member and long-time disaster relief volunteer Mike Overcash died June 8 following an apparent heart attack.
Overcash, 80, a former employee of LifeWay Christian Resources who served several Tennessee Baptist churches as minister of music, was on the staff of the TBC from 1995-2001 as computer services specialist and as interim director of Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief in 2015. Continue reading
BRENTWOOD — Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers have been asked to respond in the wake of deadly storms and flooding that occurred across the nation during the Christmas holidays.
As of Jan. 4, 11 states had Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers serving at ministry sites in Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas.
“The lives of so many families and communities are forever changed,” observed Mickey Caison, interim executive director of SBDR.
Wes Jones, disaster relief specialist for the Tennessee Baptist Convention, reported that a Tennessee team led by Gary Cate of Knox County Baptist Association served last week at First Baptist Church in Yukon, Okla., helping cut up downed trees.
Jones said Missouri Baptists have asked for mud out teams to assist residents affected by flooding in the state.
He noted three teams were scheduled to leave over the weekend to travel to Elmore, Mo. In addition, five groups of assessors are traveling to Missouri to assist, Jones added.
For more information about volunteer opportunities, call 615-371-7927.
On December 23, storms producing tornadoes and straight-line winds roared across our state. In the path of these Christmas season storms, lives were lost, homes, businesses and property were destroyed. Governor Haslam has declared a state of emergency. And your TBC Disaster Relief staff, led by Wes Jones, has been preparing to respond.
A fund has been set up for the response to the December 2015 storms in Tennessee. Please visit our Contributions page to give by credit or debit card. There is also information for mailing in a payment.
Our host of DR Volunteers will be still responding with help and hope long after the news crews have moved on to the next story.
Continue to pray for those affected by the storms as well those assisting in the recovery.