South Georgia Disaster Response Teams are committed to responding and helping their neighbors affected by disasters, even in the midst of a pandemic. While extra precautions are necessary, they have not kept early response teams from showing up and working hard.
Following the Easter storms, on April 13 South Georgia Disaster Response Coordinator Luis Morales and district disaster coordinators immediately sprang into action and assessed affected areas and began deploying teams.
Kelly Crane, Coastal District Disaster Coordinator, said that as early as Tuesday, April 14, teams began working in Odum, Ga. after an EF-1 tornado touched down. By Saturday evening, 19 homes were completed thanks to hard-working volunteers and skid steer equipment provided by a local dealer. Teams from Brunswick, St. Simons, Glenville, and Fitzgerald along with individuals from Ocilla and Claxton worked together over a four day period to assist the community. Most of their work included tree removal and debris clean-up.
“This is my first real experience directing an operation this large, and I would not be able to do this without all the folks that have come out to help,” Crane said. “I have never been as proud as I am this week to be part of such a wonderful team of volunteers.”
Waynesboro was another area hit hard by the storms. Rev. Issac Salgado, pastor of Waynesboro First UMC, in partnership with other faith groups and assistant director Bob Grieco, coordinated a cleanup day in their community. The ambitious group of volunteers assisted homeowners in cleaning up debris and personal items. Toward the end of the week, volunteers worked to tarp homes that suffered roof damage ahead of this past Sunday’s storms.
“In times like this, it is clear to see the tremendous amount of capacity South Georgia has built in order to provide a quick response after a disaster event,” said Allison Lindsey, Associate Director of Connectional Ministries. “We are very thankful for the churches and groups of passionate volunteers who are willing to deploy quickly to minister in a community when they are needed most.”
By Amanda Aguilar | April 15, 2020 at 3:56 PM EDT - Updated April 15 at 6:26 PM*
ODUM, Ga. (WTOC) - The town of Odum is still dealing with the aftermath of Monday’s EF-1 tornado.
Several volunteers are helping in the recovery process, including the United Methodist Church.
Residents are in the cleanup phase, and thanks to several volunteers, they say they have hope that things will be okay.
“Oh! These people are wonderful. I just thank God for them," said Kathy Rozier.
Kathy Rozier is one of about a dozen people the disaster response team, from South Georgia’s United Methodist Church, is helping.
“We come out early, as soon as the storms pass. We’re here on the ground to work with the community to help them get rebuilt," said Disaster Response Coordinator Kelly Crane.
About 10 volunteers joined Kelly Crane, using chainsaws to cut fallen trees, and cleaning up debris left from the tornado.
“It’s still difficult. This is a trauma for folks to go through, and to lose everything, or to have the damage they’ve had.”
Crane says it’s a blessing to be in Odum.
“We come into these disasters, hoping to be the hands and feet of Christ, and to provide hope for people.
”Rozier and other residents say they’re touched by the volunteers’ selflessness.
“I hope I can donate something. I hope I can do something. She said ‘It gives us joy. This is what we do.’”
Although the town of Odum might not look the same after the cleanup is done, residents know the community will come out stronger and closer/
We spoke with Wayne County EMA who says they are still assessing the damage. So far, the director says 60 homes have been damaged. They’ll continue the assessment following the tornado’s path.
*Reprinted with permission