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Volunteers tarp roofs, remove debris

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
HENRYVILLE, Ind. (BP) -- In the Indiana town of 6,000 where an EF-4 tornado struck March 2, 55 Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers in Henryville continue to tarp roofs (23 so far), board up windows and do chainsaw jobs, relief team leader Bill Crane reported for the State Convention of Baptists in Indiana.

"I'll be surprised if we don't wind up by this weekend," said Crane, who -- along with North American Mission Board DR coordinator Bruce Poss -- is staffing the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief incident command center stationed at Bethel Baptist Church in Memphis, about four miles south of Henryville.

"I really appreciate the support of NAMB Disaster Relief," Crane said. "They've really come alongside of us with full support in Indiana."

Crane also praised the leadership role of First Baptist Church in Henryville and their young pastor, Toby Jenkins. The church survived the tornado as it barreled down Henryville's Main Street, although most of the windows were blown out by 175 mph winds. Jenkins and 200 others took shelter in the church's basement.

"A real ministry has been taking place in Henryville," Crane said. Right after the tornado, more than a half-dozen Baptist chaplains came to the town, making 165 ministry contacts and seeing three salvation decisions. Although half of Henryville was destroyed, Crane said the townspeople are closeknit and busy helping each other move on with their lives.

In Kentucky, some 100 SBDR volunteers from three states continue to respond in five towns following the devastating tornadoes that rolled through the state March 2, killing 21 people.


In all, last Friday's tornadoes killed at least 39 people across five Midwest and Southern states. In addition to the 21 victims in Kentucky, 13 perished in Indiana, three in Ohio and one each in Alabama and Georgia.

Six of Kentucky's 21 victims were killed in hard-hit West Liberty, a town of 3,500 about two and a half hours southeast of Louisville. First Baptist Church in West Liberty was practically destroyed, as was the home of pastor David Cook. However, Cook and his family survived and with the help of SBDR volunteers moved into the parsonage at nearby New Hope Baptist Church.

In the face of new torrential rainstorms today (March 8), SBDR site coordinator Bill Johnson was directing 75 volunteers in a full-court press to blue-tarp as many West Liberty roofs -- many still with gaping holes from the tornado.

"We're currently preparing 1,700 meals a day and delivering them to the Red Cross and Salvation Army," Johnson said. In addition to the feeding unit staffed by 20 DR volunteers, another 30-40 are manning chainsaw/recovery teams and others are handling shower/laundry units, childcare and communications.

Across Kentucky, a total of 26 Kentucky Baptist Convention DR units are deployed, according to Coy Webb, Baptist Men's director in charge of the Kentucky state DR team. Teams from the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina and Texas Baptist Men also have come to Kentucky to lend a hand.


Other state DR teams are standing down after responding to tornado and storm damage in Illinois, Missouri, Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.

Mickey Noah writes for the North American Mission Board. For regular updates about Southern Baptist Disaster Relief, visit to subscribe. Donations to SBDR are fully tax deductible and 100 percent of all gifts are used to meet the needs of hurting people in the wake of disasters. Donations can be made to state Baptist Conventions or online at; by phone, 1-866-407-6262; or by mail. Checks should be made payable to "North American Mission Board" and sent to Disaster Relief Fund, P.O. Box 116543, Atlanta, GA 30368-6543.

Copyright (c) 2012 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press

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