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DR Helps Flooded Churches, Homeowners
May 7, 2013
CARLISLE — Tennessee Baptist disaster relief volunteers served here April 28 – May 4 after rains April 24-25 and 27 caused flooding in the area. Carlisle is a small community of about 38 homes and several churches located about 10 miles southeast of Dover and southwest of Lake Barkley.
About 30 disaster relief recovery volunteers worked on 28 houses and two churches including Carlisle Missionary Baptist Church.
At least one person made a profession of faith as DR volunteers witnessed to folks there, reported Carolyn Watson, director of DR for Cumberland Baptist Association, based in Clarksville.
At Carlisle Missionary Baptist Church volunteers and members of the church removed mud and pews and other items from the church facility and stored them in a DR tractor trailer, said Watson. The church facility was flooded by about six inches of water. The church did not have flood insurance but residents of the area were just recently allowed to purchase flood insurance, explained Watson.
The volunteers also removed trees blocking a creek using a bob cat and manual labor and worked on numerous driveways filling holes with gravel using the bob cat, said Watson, who coordinated the effort. She has been a DR volunteer for 11 years.
Volunteers also removed mud and damaged flooring and drywall in homes, did laundry for residents, and provided showers to residents using mobile Baptist DR equipment, said Watson. For several days meals prepared by a health care center in Erin were delivered by the American Red Cross and then Baptists, reported Watson.
Because the rains held off on Saturday, May 4, a lot of work was completed in the area, said Watson. Other work may be done in the future. Carlisle Missionary Baptist, which served as a command center for Baptists, the American Red Cross, and the police will remain a center for help. Volunteers of the church and other Baptists including Dale Taylor, pastor, Bear Springs Baptist Church, Dover, and William Gray, director of missions, Judson/Stewart/Truett Baptist Associations, based in Dover, are serving there. Baptists also will be distributing items such as water and cleaning supplies, said Watson.
Many people were witnessed to during the recovery work of Baptists, she reported. About four Baptist ministers served as well as two DR chaplains.
Tennessee Baptist DR volunteers were from Cumberland Association; Truett Association, based in Dover; and Weakley County Association, based in Dresden. In addition, a shower unit from West Jackson Baptist Church, Jackson, and laundry unit from First Baptist Church, Hendersonville, served.
What the Baptist DR volunteers did “gives the people hope,” said Watson. “We saw this flood bring that community together,” she added, predicting that more residents will make professions of faith as Baptists and Christians there follow up on contacts made during the flood recovery work.
Associational DR Work Continues
February 11, 2013
Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers continue to serve storm victims in Henderson County, Robertson County, McNairy County, and Wilson County.
As of press time on Feb. 11 David Acres, state disaster relief director, Tennessee Baptist Convention, was in West Tennessee “assessing the damage and looking toward the future for rebuild,” he stated.
Acres said he and local DR volunteers will be working with emergency management officials of counties in long-term recovery committees.
In Henderson County, where about 400 homes were affected, about 60 had major damage and one resident was injured, local DR volunteers are still serving, reported Rick Taylor, Beech River Baptist Association DR director.
Taylor said as of Feb. 11 the association’s DR had helped 42 homeowners. Seventy DR volunteers from nine churches have served, added Taylor. He had five job orders and expected more to come in. He said thankfully churches are taking up offerings to offset the DR expenses. Another help was a report on Beech River Association DR by WBBJ-TV of Jackson. The report will help needy folks become aware of the ministry and contact him if they need help, said Taylor.
In Robertson County, where about 100 homes were damaged, one church damaged, and one woman was injured, DR chain saw volunteers served and completed work on 11 homes, reported Robert Tyson, director of missions, Robertson County Baptist Association, based in Springfield. DR volunteers “remain ready to respond to requests for assistance,” he added.
In McNairy County where about 70 homes suffered major damage and one was destroyed, Shiloh Baptist Association DR led a project Feb. 9 to roof a home in Bethel Springs for a family in need. About 32 volunteers served including members of Good Hope Baptist Church, Adams-ville; Forty Forks Baptist Church, Bethel Springs; Mount Zion Baptist Church, Bethel Springs; and First Baptist Church, Bethel Springs.
Connie Stricklin of the association DR reported also that the DR provided meals for nine days out of First, Bethel Springs, and completed chain saw and clean up work and/or installed tarps on the roofs of about 50 homes, one elementary school, and several churches. They expect to do more work in the upcoming weeks, said Stricklin.
In Wilson County where about 40 homes and/or their property were damaged, Baptist DR work also was being done Feb. 9 by eight DR volunteers and two helpers from West Hills Baptist Church, Lebanon; Victory Baptist Church, Mount Juliet; Round Lick Baptist Church, Watertown; and First Baptist Church, Mount Juliet, reported Tawana Flatt of Wilson County Baptist Association DR. The volunteers were working on downed trees at a home.
On Feb. 15 the group will continue work on a home, added Flatt. They expect that will conclude their work, said Flatt.
About 25 DR volunteers have worked on three homes, she reported.
Also Silver Springs Baptist Church, Mount Juliet, was damaged but needs no help, reported Russ Stephens, pastor.
For more information on Baptist DR response to the Jan. 30 storms, contact Elizabeth Holmes of the Tennessee Baptist Convention staff at 615-371-7926 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Disaster Relief Helps Storm Victims
February 4, 2013
By cleaning up, feeding in Henderson, Robertson, McNairy and Wilson counties
Following the early morning storms which struck Tennessee Jan. 30 some of the first responders were Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers. Often they worked in conjunction with county emergency management personnel.
About 300 homes were damaged in Henderson County and many more homes sustained damage but the only damage was from downed trees, said Rick Taylor, DR director, Beech River Baptist Association, based in Lexington. Also one homeowner who was thrown from his trailer broke his hip. No one else was hurt. Power was still out for some residents as of press time on Feb. 4.
In Robertson County about 100 homes were damaged, reported Robert Tyson, director of missions, Robertson County Baptist Association, based in Springfield. Bethlehem Baptist Church, Springfield, was damaged. Power was out in the area for about two days. Nobody was killed.
In McNairy County 70 homes suffered major damage and one was destroyed, reported Connie Stricklin of Shiloh Baptist Association DR, based in Adamsville. Also power was out for about 1,200 homes in the area for about two days. No one was hurt.
Finally, about 65 structures, including 40 homes and/or their property, and one Baptist church — Silver Springs Baptist Church, Mount Juliet — were damaged in Wilson County, reported Tawana Flatt of Wilson County Baptist Association DR, based in Lebanon. No one was hurt. Short power outages occurred.
In Henderson County, which suffered the most damage in Tennessee, Taylor and 12 association DR volunteers began assisting the county emergency management agency director in making assessments of damage hours after the storm. Taylor was first contacted by an EMA official at 4 a.m., Jan. 30, he said, and soon after began with help from his DR team assessing the area for the county.
That same day Taylor also coordinated the work of six members of Chapel Hill Baptist Church, Lexington, who did chain saw work on damaged trees for seven homeowners, said Taylor.
On Jan. 31, 18 chain saw volunteers including a team from Woodland Baptist Church, Brownsville, worked at nine homes. Despite the frigid temperatures on Feb. 1, 13 chain saw volunteers helped four homeowners and on Feb. 2, 20 chain saw volunteers helped three homeowners, said Taylor. On Sunday afternoon four volunteers worked on a trailer house because of the need.
He has been amazed at the amount of damage county wide, he reported. The winds roared through at about 110 miles an hour, he said, which can be compared to a category 3 hurricane.
Thankfully his team had accepted 10 rolls of tarping material while helping victims of Hurricane Isaac in Louisiana, he said. Taylor and other Baptist volunteers here have distributed “a lot” of the material.
As of press time on Feb. 4 Taylor said he was doing more assessment of needs in the county and assigning work to his teams. He believes he and DR will be busy for weeks and then Baptist Builders will be needed to help storm victims.
Robert Tyson, DOM, Robertson County Baptist Association, did assessment of needs beginning on the morning after the storm and then mobilized associational DR volunteers to do chain saw work and clean up of downed trees the next day.
On Jan. 31 seven volunteers served, on Feb. 1, eight volunteers served, and on Feb. 2, 12 volunteers served, assisted by youth and leaders of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Springfield. The church also was damaged. A total of 11 homeowners were assisted.
He said the roof and the awning of a walkway between buildings of Bethlehem Baptist was damaged and the church had to cancel Wednesday evening activities because of a lack of power.
Tyson said the DR volunteers had ceased their work as of Feb. 4 but were available to be of help to residents.
Just hours after the storm Shiloh Baptist Association DR, based in Adamsville, began working out of First Baptist Church, Bethel Springs, to help the about 85 homeowners who had some damage to their homes, said Connie Stricklin. Mike Stricklin, her husband, is DR director.
Working with the county EMA and sheriff’s office, the Sricklins and their DR team helped set up an operations center at First Baptist close to “where a lot of the damage was done,” described Connie Stricklin.
The morning after the storm Lakeview Baptist Church, Selmer, distributed breakfast to emergency management workers and storm victims. Then First Baptist became a center for storm-related help and the DR feeding team of the association quickly prepared and served lunch that very day. On Wednesday 310 meals were served and each following day meals were served except for Sunday when most workers took a break. The recipients were storm victims and emergency workers including DR chain saw volunteers. Meals even were delivered by volunteers to homeowners and workers at their homes and work sites, said Stricklin.
Also the church was offered as a shelter but only was used by volunteers, reported Stricklin. About 1,200 residents were without power for about two days, she noted.
Food for the meals was provided by Shiloh Association and Food Giant of Selmer, she added. As of press time on Feb. 4, 800 meals had been served.
As of Feb. 4 a total of 24 Baptist DR chain saw volunteers from outside the association had served and 12 Baptist DR chain saw volunteers and others from Shiloh Association had served, said Stricklin. They had completed 13 jobs but have 20 more jobs to complete though they are smaller, said Stricklin. Also about 25 feeding volunteers had served as of Feb. 4.
Traveling there to serve have been volunteers from William Carey Baptist Association based in Fayetteville; Giles County Baptist Association, based in Pulaski; Gibson Baptist Association, based in Trenton; Truett Baptist Association, based in Bon Aqua; Beech River Baptist Association, based in Lexington; and Hardeman Baptist Association, based in Bolivar.
The center at First Baptist was continuing to coordinate the work of volunteers and feed them as of Feb. 4, said Stricklin.
She said they have a couple of homeowners who are requesting and need rebuild work by volunteers because of the damage to their homes.
One great result of the effort has been that many residents “developed more of an interest in the local church” and said they would “start attending after this,” said Stricklin.
“It’s really great to be able to let folks know who we are,” said Stricklin. “This is a really good thing for the church,” she added.
Also Baptists who volunteered here to help the storm victims learned about Baptist DR, she noted, and may attend a DR training event to be held in the area in a couple of weeks.
Additionally, the work of Baptists has been well covered by a Memphis-based TV station, a Jackson-based TV station and the Independent Appeal newspaper in Selmer, said Stricklin.
Tawana Flatt of Wilson County Baptist Association DR said they have been trying to help the 40 homeowners here who suffered damage.
Flatt and her husband Doug, DR director for the association, began doing assessments for the county emergency management agency here the day after the storm and continue to do it.
Last week they also worked with 16 local DR chain saw volunteers who helped three homeowners by removing downed trees from their houses and their property, reported Flatt.
The Baptist volunteers met several homeowners who had already paid for trees to be removed but needed debris removed who they will try to help, she said. Of course, they are trying to find and help homeowners who are elderly and don’t have insurance, Flatt explained, which is “what we’re all about anyway.”
As the couple try to do “God’s work” and keep up with their personal jobs, they must juggle things, said Tawana. “But God rewards us in so many ways it’s just unbelievable,” she added.
They expect they will receive referrals of needs from the county which uses the Wilson County DR for such needs, said Doug Flatt. They were continuing to coordinate chain saw work here as of press time on Feb. 4.
For more information on needs, contact Elizabeth Holmes of the Tennessee Baptist Convention staff at email@example.com or (615) 371-7926. To give funds for this DR response, visit www.tnbaptist.org.
2013 Tornadoes & Severe Storms
January 30, 2013
As a result of severe storms that moved through the region early Wednesday morning, damage assessments are still being done. More information will be released as it becomes available.
The convention has established the "2013 Tornado / Storms Fund" so churches and individuals can give through the Tennessee Baptist Convention to this relief effort. Donations can be made online or sent to Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief, P.O. Box 728, Brentwood, TN 37024. Be sure to mark gifts for the 2013 Tornado/Storms Fund.
More Sandy Responders See Decisions
Dec. 10, 2012
Teams from two associations see residents make commitments
BRENTWOOD — Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers and Tennessee Baptist volunteers serving through other organizations continue to help Hurricane Sandy victims. The hurricane struck the Northeast Oct. 29-30.
Nine volunteers from William Carey Baptist Association, based in Fayetteville, and Giles County Baptist Association, based in Pulaski, served in New Jersey Nov. 7-15. Their efforts resulted in 12 people making professions of faith.
Jim Baird, coordinator of the team, reported the team served in Toms River, N.J., with a non-Baptist organization.
The volunteers initially joined other volunteers cleaning a flooded home but spent most of their time there, five days, removing damaged trees with chain saws and witnessing of their faith.
Baird said one homeowner they worked for said she was a follower of Christ but her son was not. He was not at the home that day but the Tennesseans returned the next day to put a tarp on her roof. Just before they left, the son arrived at the home. After talking to one of the Tennesseans, the son accepted Christ, reported Baird.
The son told the Tennessee Baptists about his girlfriend who was in the hospital and who wasn’t a Christian.
Baird said they referred this opportunity to some chaplains they were associated with, who followed up and after a second visit, saw the young woman pray to receive Christ.
During one of the hospital visits, the woman who referred the Tennesseans to her son and thought she was a Christian realized while talking to a chaplain that she was not a believer. She also made the commitment.
The Tennesseans personally saw 10 residents make professions of faith mainly led by Bill Sharp, a retired minister of Alabama on their team.
Though the team traveled a total of 1,800 miles, they were thrilled, said Baird.
“This is what it is all about. That is why we do what we do,” he added.
Also, Tennessee DR volunteers from Bradley Baptist Association, based in Cleveland, serving from the association’s shower/laundry unit, have presented the gospel several times and prayed several times with residents, reported Randy Bonner, ministry evangelism director for the association.
The BBA shower/laundry unit has served since Nov. 10 and may continue to serve into January, said Bonner. It is assisting residents and DR volunteers in the Long Island area of New York. The unit has been stationed at Crossroads Baptist Church, Farmingdale, N.Y., and an Episcopal church in Fairfax, N.Y.
A total of 14 volunteers from the association have provided the ministry, reported Bonner.
“We greatly appreciate the time and energy our DR volunteers have given to help those in need. Several have taken vacation days and have rearranged schedules including a few that gave up their Thanksgiving holiday in order to serve,” said Bonner.
Tennessee DR still responding to Hurricane Sandy
November 26, 2012
NEW YORK CITY — While only four Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers are currently helping with Hurricane Sandy relief, more will be needed, says David Acres, Tennessee Baptist DR director.
Acres recently returned from New York City after serving two weeks with a new program designed to conduct Rapid Temporary Repairs.
Presently, a four-member team from Nolachucky Baptist Association, led by Don Owen of First Baptist Church, Morristown, is in the New York City area.
The team is assessing homes that need either chain saw work, flood recovery work or home repairs, Acres said.
He noted a chain saw team is needed immediately to travel to New York City this weekend and work the week of Dec. 3 to cut and move large trees that were downed by Hurricane Sandy.
Acres said the North American Mission Board has developed a plan for college students to go to New York and work during the Christmas break. A place has been obtained for them to stay as well as places of service, Acres said.
Interested college students can register at www.regonline.com/-collegiatedr. To register enter the code, collegiatedr.
Flood recovery teams will be needed for New York City through December and possibly into January, Acres said. After that, rebuild teams will be needed.
For more information about opportunities to serve, contact Elizabeth Holmes in the TBC Disaster Relief office at 1-800-558-2090, ext. 7926 or (615) 371-7926.
Those interested in donating to the “Hurricane Sandy Disaster Relief Fund” can do so online at www.tnbaptist.org or send donations marked for the fund to TBC, P.O. Box 728, Brentwood, TN 37024.
TBC DR Sees Decisions
November 12, 2012
BRENTWOOD — Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief has shifted gears as volunteers continue to minister in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
As they minister and serve, volunteers are seeing decisions made for Jesus Christ.
At least three professions of faith and one rededication have resulted from the efforts of Tennessee Baptists who are serving as the hands and feet of Christ following the hurricane and a recent front that has dumped snow in the area.
Chain saw and recovery teams have worked in several locations in the northeast for the past week. The North American Mission Board also assigned the TBC the responsibility of rapid repair response in New York and New Jersey late last week. TBC Disaster Relief director David Acres traveled to New York City Nov. 9 to find a warehouse and lodging facilities for volunteers.
The team will do assessments of needs in the area and man the warehouse, giving what is needed to volunteer teams from all organizations, Acres said.
The state feeding unit and the feeding unit of Sullivan Baptist Association were sent to McGuire Air Force Base in Lakehurst, N.J. last week. Volunteers, though they did not actually prepare meals, did serve for a few days at McGuire Air Force Base and did a variety of tasks, including going to a nearby town and picking up meals prepared by North Carolina Baptist DR volunteers and bringing them back to the air base to serve. Both feeding units have returned home.
“Volunteers plan and prepare to be used when a disaster happens,” Acres said.
“Our volunteers responded to the request to go to McGuire Air Force Base but discovered they were not needed to provide meals once they arrived,” Acres said.
Their trip was not wasted. Acres said team members led two servicemen to Christ and a truck driver re-dedicated his life. In addition, a young woman accepted Christ after Tennessee volunteers removed a tree from her yard.
“Our people understand what they are really there for — to share the love of Christ whether they are cooking meals, cutting trees or just interacting with people,” Acres said.
TBC Executive Director Randy C. Davis agreed. “This is big. This is what it is all about,” he observed.
Davis, in a letter to Tennessee Baptists on Nov. 8, requested Tennessee Baptists to be in prayer for Acres, who “will be coordinating this monumental task” and for all volunteers who are “seizing this opportunity to be the hands, feet and heart of Jesus in this vitally important work.”
Davis encouraged Tennessee Baptists to give generously to the relief effort. “I want to thank you for giving. We by faith sent a great deal of financial resources on ahead of this recovery effort to New England.
“Now we are anticipating that churches will respond and, indeed, I have been getting phone calls all week about churches that received offerings last Sunday and churches that will be receiving offerings this Sunday for the Hurricane Sandy Disaster Relief Fund. Thank you so much for responding.”
Volunteers interested in serving should maintain contact with Elizabeth Holmes in the TBC Disaster Relief office at 1-800-558-2090, ext. 7926, or (615) 371-7926.
Those interested in donating to the “Hurricane Sandy Disaster Relief Fund” can do so online at www.tnbaptist.org or send donations marked for the fund to TBC, P.O. Box 728, Brentwood, TN 37024.
DR kitchens return to Tennessee; Volunteers to help with rapid temporary repairs
November 7, 2012
BRENTWOOD – The Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief state feeding unit has returned to Tennessee from McGuire Air Force Base in Lakehurst, N.J.
The kitchen unit of Sullivan Baptist Association will return either Nov. 7 or Nov. 8, depending on weather conditions. A snowstorm is forecast for the area over the next few days.
Both kitchen units were sent to New Jersey last weekend in anticipation of being used in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
Neither feeding unit was actually used although volunteers did travel to a nearby town and pick up meals provided by North Carolina disaster relief teams and served them at the air base.
“Volunteers plan and prepare to be used when a disaster happens,” said David Acres, Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief director.
“Our volunteers responded to the request to go to McGuire Air Force Base but discovered they were not needed to provide meals once they arrived,” Acres said.
Team members, however, adapted and did things they were asked to do at the base, he said.
Their trip was not wasted. Acres said team members led two servicemen to Christ and a truck driver re-dedicated his life.
“Our people understand what they are really there for – to share the love of Christ whether they are cooking meals or interacting with people,” Acres said.
“While the need for our feeding units is diminishing in the affected area we have recovery and chain saw crews in places like Norwalk, Conn., and Bayshore, N.Y., added TBC Executive Director Randy C. Davis. Several other teams will be on their way as logistics are made and assessments are completed, he noted.
“Just this morning (Nov. 7) TBC disaster relief was given the massive assignment of Rapid Repair Response for New York and New Jersey. This kind of work includes such things as placing tarps on damaged roofs and boarding up damaged windows,” he said.
Acres will travel to New York by week’s end to head a team which will run a warehouse for the repair operation.
The team will also do assessments in addition to handing out supplies to VOAD (Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters) volunteers.
The team will work out of the local Baptist association office in New York City. Acres will try to find warehouse space and lodging for volunteers once he arrives on the scene.
“We hope to be set up by Monday, Nov. 12,” Acres said. Only a small team of four-six volunteers will be needed at first, but more could be needed once assessments are made, he said.
Volunteers interested in serving should maintain contact with Elizabeth Holmes in the TBC Disaster Relief office at 1-800-558-2090, ext. 7926, or (615) 371-7926.
Tennessee Baptists interested in donating to the “Hurricane Sandy Disaster Relief Fund” can do so online at www.tnbaptist.org or send donations marked for the fund to TBC, P.O. Box 728, Brentwood, TN 37024.
DR Volunteers Head Northeast
November 5, 2012
Tennessee disaster relief teams join massive Southern Baptist relief effort
BRENTWOOD — Tennessee Baptist disaster relief volunteers will be part of a massive relief effort for Southern Baptist Disaster Relief.
In an unprecedented move, Southern Baptist Disaster Relief asked all large capacity mobile kitchens in the fleet east of the Rocky Mountains to mobilize in response to Hurricane Sandy.
As of Nov. 1, nearly 90 people had been confirmed dead and a number of people were still unaccounted for, Baptist Press reported.
Late last week nearly five million people were without electricity and gasoline was hard to obtain due to a fuel shortage and a lack of electricity to operate the gas pumps.
“As we worked through the planning and continued to receive reports about the need, the conviction came on me that Southern Baptists need to step out in faith and mobilize now,” said Fritz Wilson, executive director of North American Mission Board Disaster Relief.
On Nov. 1, NAMB trustees authorized the agency to cover the travel expense for state conventions that needed the assistance in mobilizing their DR teams to the region.
The goal was to prepare a minimum of 400,000 meals daily by Nov. 5. During the height of SBDR response to Hurricane Katrina, volunteers prepared 425,000 meals per day.
David Perrson, director of NJNet, a Southern Baptist association of churches in the northern half of New Jersey, said volunteers need to be aware of the lack of resources there, including food. He cautioned incoming volunteers to come “self-contained because many of the churches and places that could house them have no electricity and sometimes no water or sanitation because of that, … especially in these first couple of weeks.”
About 80 Tennessee Baptists left last weekend to work on two Tennessee feeding/kitchen units. Also four other DR volunteers on shower trailer units and a laundry unit traveled with them and on Nov. 5 three workers with a laundry unit were on their way. Additionally on Nov. 5 chain saw/flood recovery units already were serving in New York and Connecticut.
The Sullivan Baptist Association (based in Kingsport) feeding unit and about 31 volunteers led by Jim Ramey and the TBC state feeding unit (based in Mount Juliet) manned by about 49 volunteers led by Murray Johnson were sent to McGuire Air Force Base in Lakehurst, N.J., where they waited on Nov. 5 for their assignment.
The feeding units were joined by the shower trailer units of Holston Baptist Association (based in Johnson City) and First Baptist Church, Concord, Knoxville, and a laundry unit of Watauga Baptist Association (based in Elizabethton). The laundry unit traveling on Nov. 5 from Oak Street Baptist Church, Soddy-Daisy, was to work at Union Hall Baptist Church, Union Beach, N.J.
The two units already working include 13 volunteers mainly from Cumberland Baptist Association (based in Clarksville) working in Bridgeport, Conn., and the Nolachucky Baptist Association unit (based in Morristown) of 16 volunteers working in Bay Shore, N.Y.
The TBC has been requested to send more flood recovery crews and chaplains, Acres said. Any trained DR volunteers wishing to go can contact Elizabeth Holmes in the DR office at 1-800-558-2090, ext. 7926 or (615) 371-7926.
Last week TBC Executive Director Randy C. Davis announced the convention has established the “Hurricane Sandy Disaster Relief Fund” so churches can give through the TBC to this massive relief effort. Donations can be made online at www.tnbaptist.org or sent to TBC, P.O. Box 728, Brentwood, TN 37024. Be sure to mark gifts for the Hurricane Sandy Disaster Relief Fund.
“Our work will be extensive as well as expensive,” he said. Davis stressed that “every dime” will go toward assisting in the recovery and rebuild efforts that will be going on for months.
“We will need to undertake a church revitalization and church planting effort unprecedented in the aftermath of our disaster relief work. Whether it is Texas or New York, Tennesseans have always had a history of being there when times are tough.
“We will once again go where the Lord sends us to be His hands, His feet, His heart and pointedly, intentionally, share the gospel as we go about doing His benevolent work,” Davis said.
The Baptist and Reflector will provide updates on the relief efforts this week as they are available at www.tnbaptist.org.
TBC Disaster Relief teams on way to New York or N.J.
November 1, 2012
BRENTWOOD — About 200 Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers are leaving on Friday and Saturday to serve victims of Hurricane Sandy in the New York and/or New Jersey area, reported David Acres, Tennessee Disaster Relief director on Nov. 1.
On Nov. 2 the Sullivan Baptist Association feeding/kitchen unit based in Kingsport manned by about 75 volunteers led by Jim Ramey, association DR director, will leave. They will be assisted by the shower trailer unit of Holston Baptist Association, based in Johnson City, and the recovery unit of Holston Valley Baptist Association, based in Rogersville. The recovery unit, made up of chain saw workers, flood recovery workers and chaplains, will involve about 12 volunteers, said Acres. The kitchen unit staff will begin feeding on Sunday, he added.
On Nov. 3 the Tennessee Baptist Convention state feeding/kitchen unit based in Mount Juliet will leave Tennessee. It will be led by about 100 volunteers. This unit will be assisted by a shower trailer unit of First Baptist Church, Concord, Knoxville, and a recovery unit of Nolachucky Baptist Association, based in Morristown, and led by Don Owen, association DR director. The recovery unit will involve about 12 volunteers. This unit will begin feeding on Monday.
The feeding/kitchen volunteers have been asked by Southern Baptist DR leaders based in Harrisburg, Penn., to be prepared to serve about 10,000 meals a day and to prepare to serve them onsite and for delivery.
All Southern Baptist feeding units serving from Tennessee and other states will be preparing about 200,000 meals a day, reported Acres.
"This is really big," said Acres.
According to Fox New reports, Hurricane Sandy, which struck the U.S. East Coast on Monday, Oct. 29, has led to the deaths of 78 people in the U.S. The 900-mile-wide weather system also caused property damage and destruction in about a dozen states.
One problem related to the Southern Baptist effort, said Acres, is the lack of Baptist churches in the Northeast. The kitchen units and other units bring their own generators and a lot of fuel, but need access to water and sewer infrastructure and a place for some of the volunteers to sleep.
He asked for prayer for the Tennessee DR volunteers who will serve.
Churches also can download a bulletin insert from the Tennessee Baptist Convention web site at www.tnbaptist.org beginning on Friday morning to inform church members about the effort, said Acres.
For more information on the effort, visit www.tnbaptist.org.
TBC Disaster Relief teams to serve in New England
October 30, 2012
Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief "has been paired with the Baptist Convention of New England" to help victims of Hurricane Sandy which struck the U.S. East Coast Monday evening, according to David Acres, Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief director.
News reports on Tuesday on Hurricane Sandy, dubbed a super storm, reported the death toll is 39 in the U.S. and 69 in the Caribbean. Also millions will be without power or mass transit for days and the property damage is in the billions of dollars and lost business is in the billions.
Tennessee Baptist DR volunteers will be serving in the convention which is made up of some of the hardest hit areas. The Baptist convention, based in Northborough, Mass., includes Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massassachusets, Rhode Island and Connecticut.
On Tuesday, Oct. 30, the New England convention leaders and Southern Baptist DR leaders asked Tennessee to send chain saw crews, flood recovery crews and chaplains, said Acres. The leaders are currently finding places for volunteers to stay. Acres predicted the teams would begin traveling to New England on Thursday.
The Tennessee Baptist DR office has already started contacting DR team leaders. Any trained DR volunteers wishing to volunteer may contact Elizabeth Holmes in the DR office at 1-800-558-2090 ext. 7926, (615) 371-7926 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Acres said usually feeding teams are needed but that need is "being taken care of by other states."
Tennessee Baptist Convention Executive Director Randy C. Davis said the TBC has set up the Hurricane Sandy Disaster Relief Fund so churches can give through the TBC to give to this massive relief effort.
"Our work will be extensive as well as expensive," he said. "I already know that some churches are receiving special offerings for the next few weeks to assist with this recovery."
Davis added, "Every dime given through the Hurricane Sandy Disaster Relief Fund will go toward assisting in the recovery and rebuild efforts that will be going on for months, if not years, in the affected areas. The executive directors I have talked to from Maryland to Massachusetts have told me that so many of their churches have been devastated.
"We will need to undertake a church revitalization and church planting effort unprecedented in the aftermath of our disaster relief work. Whether it is Texas or New York, Tennesseans have always had a history of being there when times are tough.
"We will once again go where the Lord sends us to be His hands, His feet, His heart and pointedly, intentionally share the Gospel as we go about doing this benevolent work," stated Davis.
October 10, 2012
Southern Baptist Association and church leaders in Franklinton, Hammond, Houma, New Orleans, and Walker, Louisiana are coordinating ongoing disaster response efforts in their communities. At the same time recovery work continues at two cemeteries in Plaquemines Parish Louisiana. A team of volunteers from Tennessee has been working there this week.
Photo right: TN DR volunteers John Woodcock, Randy Whetsell and Jimmy Brake prepare to seal another crypt after the remains were identified.
Team leader Carolyn Watson sent the following report on Wednesday. "The men are doing a great job helping the parish officials replace all of the caskets and crypts with new ones and retagging them. It is slow. Our team is sharing with them how to make it move faster and the officials are listening. The state director over this operation could not believe that this was our first deployment for casket retrieval. The 7 men are doing a great job. One man arrived yesterday with a bag of cement in his trunk and was going to try to find his relatives and reseal their crypt. You know the story--he could not believe we drove 600 miles to help him. He talked with Randy Whetsell and asked what he could do for our team. Randy told him that he could pray with the team, that is all. I am so proud of this team. God has given us such leadership and compassion for the victims."
Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief Responds to Hurricane Isaac
September 6, 2012
Hurricane Isaac made landfall in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana just south of the mouth of the Mississippi River on Tuesday, August 28, 2012 just hours before the 7th anniversary of the landfall of Hurricane Katrina. Isaac, while a much weaker category 1 hurricane compared to Katrina's category 3 winds when it made landfall, was a very large storm bringing heavy rains all along the Gulf coast from Florida to Louisiana. That Tuesday night the eye of Isaac was moving along the Louisiana coast raking coastal communities with 80 mph winds.
Two eighteen wheelers loaded with plastic roof sheeting to provide temporary protection to damaged homes left Alpharetta, GA Wednesday morning, August 29 enroute to Mississippi and Louisiana. These drivers were two of Tennessee's credentialed Disaster Relief volunteers, Larry Kirkland from Loudon County Baptist Association and K. Ray Helms from Sullivan Baptist Association.
David Acres, state Disaster Relief director, left September 4, 2012 to serve as Southern Baptist Mass Care Cordinator With the American Red Cross in Washington, DC.
On September 4, Cumberland Baptist Association sent a 7-member flood recovery team. They are cleaning out a Baptist church in LaPlace, Louisiana, so that teams can eventually be housed there. There are over 8,000 homes affected from Hurricane Isaac in that particular area. They plan to serve for a week.
DR Assisted Flood Victims
August 21, 2012
BRENTWOOD — Over 200 Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers have worked and over 4,000 meals were served in Washington County during a flood recovery response Aug. 6-14, according to local DR officials on site.
Tennessee Baptist DR ended its response Aug. 14 with area church cooking teams, a laundry unit, a shower unit, local volunteers and several youth groups assisting flooded out homeowners in Washington County. Almost eight inches of rain fell Aug. 5 and destroyed 53 homes and damaged 27 homes, according to Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) reports.
The DR teams serving were from Tennessee Baptist cluster #13, which includes: Holston Association, based in Johnson City; Holston Valley Association, based in Rogersville; Watauga Association, based in Elizabethton; and Sullivan Association, based in Kingsport. Paul Strong, a member of the Sullivan Association DR team, served as the white hat for the response Aug. 10-14.
Assisting the associations in the cluster were teams from Nolachucky Baptist Association, based in Morristown, and Jefferson County Baptist Association, based in Jefferson City.
“We are now looking at long-term recovery efforts for this area, which will be done by Baptist Builders and other groups,” said Strong.
DR teams were staged out of Cherry Grove Baptist Church, Jonesborough. The damaged homes were reported by county officials to be in the Dry Creek area and downtown Johnson City.
Flood recovery teams began the Washington County response on Aug. 6 with 87 volunteers and a church meal operation out of Cherry Grove Church.
Over 60 jobs were assessed and completed by DR teams. On Aug. 7, the Watauga Association laundry unit and the Holston Association shower unit began serving at Cherry Grove Church. On Aug. 8, two chaplains joined the volunteers.
Elizabeth Holmes, DR administrative assistant, Tennessee Baptist Convention, served as the off-site coordinator.
Tennessee Disaster Relief Responds to Regional Storms
July 10, 2012
(BRENTWOOD)— Tennessee Disaster Relief responded this past week to help people whose homes and property were damaged by regional severe thunderstorms, according to state Disaster Relief director David Acres.
At least 14 members of a chain saw team representing eight churches of the Cumberland Baptist Association, Clarksville, responded July 5-6 to different areas of the city of Clarksville after severe local storms took off roofs and knocked down trees.
The team has completed 27 jobs, which included two roof repairs and 25 tree removal jobs.
According to Carolyn Watson, Cumberland Association disaster relief director, severe storms hit the Hilldale area July 4, the Clarksville downtown area and Austin Peay State University July 5, and the North Clarksville area July 6. More assessments will be done this week, added Watson.
"Our team responded to homeowners whose properties were damaged by straight-line winds from severe thunderstorms, which resulted from hot temperatures quickly dropping and toppling trees," said Watson.
Also responding to damages from a July 5 storm system were 16 members on associational chain saw teams from Sevier County Baptist Association, Sevierville, and Nolachucky Baptist Association, Morristown, to areas of Sevierville.
John Thomas, Sevier County Association disaster relief director, reported that a 10- person team worked July 6 and a six-person team worked July 9. These members represented five different churches and completed five jobs.
The teams removed trees from the home of the pastor of First Baptist Church, Sevierville, in downtown and others in the south end of the city.
Tennessee Disaster Relief Responds to Mid-Atlantic Storms
July 2, 2012
(BRENTWOOD) — Two Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief truck driver teams in SBC North American Mission Board tractor trailers are currently in route to South Carolina to pick up 39 palettes of water and deliver them to Virginia for storm survivors in the sweltering, storm-swept Mid-Atlantic region.
The Tennessee teams are also carrying NAMB roofing materials to Virginia and North Carolina, according to NAMB disaster relief officials in Alpharetta, Ga.
Driving on the first response of the two NAMB disaster relief trucks are: team one, Jim Ramey, disaster relief director of Sullivan Baptist Association, Kingsport; and Kelly Ray Helms, also of Sullivan Association; and team two, Larry Kirkland, a member of Loudon County Baptist Association, Lenoir City.
News reports indicated that emergencies were declared in Maryland, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia and Washington, D.C., June 30, following damage from storms unleashing hurricane-force winds across and over a 500-mile stretch of the mid-Atlantic region. In addition to the storms' rampage, temperatures soared over 100 degrees and all time temperature records were broken in some Southern and Plains states.
Massive power outages have been reported in Washington D.C and other areas. At least 18 deaths across the states have been blamed on weather related incidents since June 29.
The disaster relief trucks are expected July 2 to pick up two truckloads each of 37,800 lbs. of water at U.S. Foods in Fort Mill, S.C., and to deliver them to Thomas Road Baptist Church, Lynchburg, Va., where cooling centers have been set up at the church. This response is under the operation of the Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia, Glen Allen, Va.
NAMB disaster relief officials said the Tennessee teams will deliver roofing materials to both, Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia and the Baptist General Association of Virginia, Richmond, Va., and to a Baptist State Convention of North Carolina camp, located in Shelby, N.C.
DR Volunteers Help Storm Victims
March 12, 2012
Working alongside many local Baptists, others responding
BRENTWOOD — Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief teams are continuing their response to help victims of seven confirmed Spring tornadoes which raged across the state and into other states March 2 embedded in a series of severe storm systems. Also response continued to Feb. 29 storms.
The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency noted that about 20 counties were reporting hundreds of homes and businesses damaged or destroyed and 45 people injured from four confirmed tornadoes March 2. No fatalities were reported from this system.
David Acres, Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief director, observed, “When the storms began on Wednesday, Feb. 29, and then continued on Friday of that same week, one of my thoughts was how are we going to be able to cover the whole state. Well, God has some great people living in our state.
“In all of the areas that were hit by the storms there were some wonderful volunteers that stepped up to the plate and did what needed to be done. We had our disaster relief volunteers that moved in and helped where they were needed and if you read down thru the article you will see there were a lot of needs,” he continued.
“Even though we are getting close to being finished with the clean up, please don’t forget these people who have been affected by the storms. There will be re-build efforts going on for months and let’s do whatever we can to make a difference in the lives of these folks. Thank you, Tennessee Baptists, for truly making a difference,” Acres noted.
In Hamilton County
In Hamilton County last week church chain saw teams along with association teams assisted homeowners with damages from two tornadoes, which roared through the north end of the county.
Volunteers worked March 5-11 in the Harrison, Ooltewah and Georgetown areas where they cut trees off homes and roads, said Bob Neely, disaster relief ministry coordinator of Oak Street Baptist Church, Soddy-Daisy.
Serving out of Greenwood Baptist Church, Ooltewah, a disaster relief dispatch center, were chain saw teams from Oak Street Church; Greenwood Church; Cumberland Baptist Association, Clarksville; Northside Baptist Church, Murfreesboro; William Carey Baptist Association, Fayetteville; Nolachucky Baptist Association, Morristown; and Red Bank Baptist Church, Chattanooga.
Others serving out of the Ooltewah church were First Baptist Church, Rockwood; Duck River Baptist Association, Tullahoma; First Baptist Church, Lenoir City, and other teams. The shower unit from the Bradley County Baptist Association, Cleveland, was on site at the church where teams are housed.
Bayside Baptist Church, Harrison, was also housing chain saw teams in the area.
Mike Lovett, disaster relief director of Clinton Baptist Association, Clinton, is completing damage assessment along with Frank Metcalfe of Cumberland Baptist Association, Clarksville, disaster relief. TEMA, Nashville, listed 150 homes affected in Hamilton County.
A disaster relief feeding unit at Brainerd Baptist Church, Chattanooga, worked March 2-5 cooking meals for both the Chattanooga Chapter of the American Red Cross and the Chattanooga Salvation Army. Working out of a kitchen of the church, Brainerd Church volunteers sent over 3,000 meals on Red Cross and Salvation Army vehicles to Ooltewah, Harrison and Georgetown areas where an EF2 tornado was reported.
In Jackson County
In Jackson County, local disaster relief volunteers helped about 30 homeowners who had damage to their homes in the southeastern area from an EF2 tornado. TEMA noted 63 homes affected.
In Bradley County
In Bradley County, Bradley County Baptist Association chain saw teams and others worked March 3-6 in the southwestern area of Cleveland. The association office served as a recovery dispatch center for teams who completed about 60 homeowner’s work orders. TEMA listed 87 homes affected by an EF2 tornado.
In Claiborne County
In Claiborne County, chain saw teams from Cumberland Gap Baptist Association, Harrogate; Nolachucky Baptist Association, Morristown; Jefferson County Baptist Association, Jefferson City; Knox County Baptist Association, Knoxville; and Grainger Baptist Association, Rutledge, worked March 3-6. TEMA reported 63 homes were affected in Harrogate from an EF2 tornado.
In Monroe County
In Monroe County, the shower unit of Ridgedale Baptist Church, Chattanooga, was stationed at First Baptist Church, Tellico Plains. TEMA noted 164 homes, the largest number of homes recorded, were affected in Monroe County where an EF2 tornado was confirmed.
In Cumberland County
In addition, a Cumberland Plateau Baptist Association Disaster Relief chain saw team and associational churches responded to the storm victims of an EF2 killer tornado, which leveled parts of the Rinnie and Isoline communities located near Crossville on Feb. 29.
Kirk Casey, director of missions for Cumberland Plateau Association, reported that volunteers from his association and others worked on chain saw teams March 1-4 removing tree limbs from homes on the northern end of Cumberland County near Highway 127. Teams included Cumberland Baptist Association, Clarksville, and Second Baptist Church, Clinton.
To give online to Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief, go to www.tnbaptist.org and follow the links to the DR pages. You can also send a check to Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief, P.O. Box 728, Brentwood, TN 37024. Designate it to general relief or Spring Storms 2012.
Tennessee Baptist disaster relief teams minister in aftermath
March 5, 2012
BRENTWOOD — Local Tennessee Baptist disaster relief teams are checking damage to see the extent of the need and if outside assistance is needed after last week’s series of deadly tornadoes, according to David Acres, Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief director.
The March 2 storms were part of a system which produced more than 100 confirmed tornadoes and more than 700 reports of damaging winds in the Midwest and numerous portions of the Southeast.
More than 30 deaths have been confirmed as of March 5.
In Tennessee, workers were still having trouble getting to a couple of places “because of power lines and other damage,” Acres said. “All state chain saw teams have been placed on alert and will be activated as local leadership determines needs.”
Tennessee Baptist church DR chain saw teams and a feeding unit, based out of the Hamilton County Baptist Association, are working this week helping victims of two March 2 tornadoes, which roared through the north end of the county.
At least 11 volunteers worked March 5 in the Harrison area near an inlet off Chickamauga Lake where they are cutting trees of homes and roads, said Bob Neely, disaster relief ministry coordinator of Oak Street Baptist Church, Soddy-Daisy.
Joining the six member team from Oak Street Church are others from Dallas Bay Baptist Church, Hixson; and Ridgedale Baptist Church, Chattanooga.
“We went because the Lord sent us here,” said Neely while he surveyed a lake subdivision that has experienced “total destruction. This is the worst hit area of Hamilton County by the tornadoes.”
The senior pastor of Oak Street Church, Joe Sanchez, who lives in the area, and local news reports prompted the teams to answer the needs, Neely added.
Brainerd Baptist Church, Chattanooga, which has a feeding unit, was mobilized March 2 by both Chattanooga Chapter of the American Red Cross and Chattanooga Salvation Army Units.
Working out of the kitchen of the Crossroads (BX) building of Brainerd Church volunteers began by serving 350 meals March 3 with 12 volunteers; 2,200 meals March 4 with 15 volunteers; and 200 meals March 5 with five volunteers. Vehicles from the Red Cross and Salvation Army took meals to Ooltewah, Harrison and Georgetown area where an EF2 tornado was reported.
In Jackson County, local Tennessee Baptist disaster relief volunteers were helping around 30 homeowners who had damage to their homes, reported Acres.
Tennessee Emergency Management Agency, (TEMA), Nashville, noted around 20 counties were reporting hundreds of homes and businesses damaged or destroyed and 45 people injured from four confirmed tornadoes March 2. No fatalities were reported from this system.
In addition, a Cumberland Plateau Baptist Association disaster relief chain saw team and associational churches are responding to the storm victims of an EF2 killer tornado, which roared through the Rinnie and Isoline communities, located near Crossville on Feb. 29. The association is based in Crossville.
Kirk Casey, director of missions for Cumberland Plateau Association, reported that 10 association volunteers worked on a chain saw team March 1 removing tree limbs from four homes on the northern end of Cumberland County near Highway 127.
TEMA reported 95 homes were affected in Cumberland County including two homes destroyed near the area where two storm related deaths and five injuries occurred. TEMA also reported an EF1 tornado in DeKalb County where 50 homes were affected including seven homes destroyed. One fatality was also noted.
“We have 13 volunteers clearing out a totally destroyed home,” said Casey on March 2. The home belonged to members of Lantana Road Baptist Church, Crossville, he noted, adding that three other damaged homes where the team was working belonged to members of Isoline Baptist Church, Crossville.
No association churches were damaged, Casey reported.
A chain saw team from Clinton Baptist Association, Clinton, responded March 3-4 along with Cumberland Baptist Association team, Clarksville, noted Casey. A Red Cross command center and an emergency shelter was established at Bethlehem Baptist Church, Crossville; and Isoline Church served as a feeding distribution center on March 1.
Damage assessments were done on March 1, and Red Cross rebuild assignments are continuing to come in, Casey added. Casey is serving as the off site coordinator for the response teams. Tom Rice, Cumberland Plateau Association disaster relief director, is the on site coordinator for the teams.
To give online go to www.tnbaptist.org and follow the links to the DR pages. Checks, designated for general disaster relief or “Spring Storms 2012,” can be mailed to Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief, P.O. Box 728, Brentwood, TN 37024.
— Article includes reporting by Baptist Press.
TN Baptist Disaster Relief Responding to Friday Storms
March 3, 2012
Volunteers from TN Baptist Disaster Relief are responding to the devastating storms that moved through the state and the southeast on Friday, March 2. Trained assessors are moving into the impacted areas in Tennessee to discover the specific needs and how the volunteer teams can help. In addition, state leadership is in regular contact with other states and national leadership about the needs in other states.
Local teams are taking the lead at this point, checking damage to see the extent of the need and if outside assistance is needed, according to David Acres, TN Baptist Disaster Relief state coordinator. “They are having trouble getting a couple of places because of power lines and other damage.” All state chainsaw teams have been placed on alert and will be activated as local leadership determines needs.
In Jackson County local volunteers have begun work assisting approximately 30 homeowners who had damage to their houses. Clinton Association is sending a team to the Crossville area today to clean up damage from the smaller storms that came through on Wednesday. They will be joined next week by a team from the Cumberland Baptist Association.
The Brainerd Baptist Church feeding unit is on stand-by status to move to the Ooltewah area and provide meals for both the American Red Cross and The Salvation Army. A final decision on that need is expected Saturday morning.
TN Baptist Disaster Relief Teams are comprised entirely of volunteers who raise their own support for equipment and pay for their own training and credentialing. During a time of response they are totally dependent upon contributions from churches and individuals who give through TN Baptist Disaster Relief for their expenses in assisting homeowners. They do not accept direct contributions from the homeowners. To give online to TN Baptist Disaster Relief, go to www.TNBaptist.org and follow the links to the DR pages. You can also send a check to TN Baptist Disaster Relief, P.O. Box 728, Brentwood, TN 37024. You may designate it to general relief or “Spring Storms 2012”.
For More Information Contact:
David Acres, State DR Coordinator, 615-428-7093 or DAcres@TNBaptist.org
William Maxwell, TBC Administrative Director, 615-969-1074, WMaxwell@TNBaptist.org
MMC Benefactor, DR Leader Don Davis Dies
January 23, 2012
BRENTWOOD — Donald Davis of Mount Juliet, 78, a leader among Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers, who along with his family donated their property for the new Tennessee Baptist Convention’s Missions Mobilization Center campus in Mount Juliet, died Jan. 17 at Baptist Hospital, Nashville.
“Needless to say, heaven has gained a great godly man,” said Randy C. Davis, TBC executive director.
“Tennessee Baptists are indebted to Don Davis for his life of sacrifice and service. The day before Don went home to be with the Lord, he was framing walls at the Missions Mobilization Center in Mount Juliet.
“Right after his passing someone said to me, ‘I hate that Don did not see the Missions Mobilization Center finished.’ My response was, ‘If anyone saw it finished, it was Don.’
“God planted that dream in his heart, and it was becoming reality. Now from the best seat in the universe, Don will be able to see the finished product.”
A former two term TBC Executive Board member from 2002-2007, Davis and his wife Ann were earlier honored with the “2009 Archie King Distinguished Service Award” from Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief because of their ongoing missions work.
“The Archie King Award was established to recognize someone in disaster relief that has given over and above the normal,” said David Acres, state disaster relief/Baptist Builders director.
“When one considers true men of God who have been in one’s life, Don Davis has to be at the top of the list,” noted Acres.
“One of the things that Don said more than once was, ‘Oh it’s not mine. It all belongs to God. He has just been letting me watch over it.’
“Don was the example that so many of us need to follow by the way he lived his life and by the way Don served our Lord. He has truly touched the lives of so many down through the years in his missions travels and his disaster relief work. But because of his work and his gifts, his touch will carry on for years and years.”
Earlier the Davis family had a dream for their property in Mount Juliet, and Don Davis shared that dream in 2005 with TBC officials. Now the family dream for using their property to serve God is nearing completion in 2012 with help from hundreds of TBC volunteers donating their time, construction skills and stewardship monies.
“With the MMC almost complete, the property is not just a disaster relief storage place, but a place where ministries begin and teams of missionaries will go out from,” said Tim Bearden, state conference centers senior director and former missions mobilization group leader/disaster relief director.
“Don was one of those guys that you knew he was always there for you. Davis grew up on an Illinois farm, and his father taught him a strong work ethic, the importance of serving God and stewardship. Stewardship was important to Don,” Bearden observed.
Davis served on numerous Tennessee Baptist disaster relief responses and other international partnership missions trips.
He was part of the first Tennessee disaster relief response team with the state feeding unit to New York City for the 9-11 (Sept. 11, 2001) disaster and returned to NYC in 2002 to serve with the Salvation Army feeding teams as a chaplain.
“Don Davis’ commitment to and long term service through Southern Baptist Disaster Relief is an example to all of us,” said Mickey Caison, disaster relief team leader for the North American Mission Board, Alpharetta, Ga. “His leadership in Tennessee and nationally will be missed.”
“Always having a heart for people, Don led the way for the chaplains to travel with the disaster relief units,” Bearden recalled.
Bearden also noted that Davis was a strong churchman and loved serving at Two Rivers Baptist Church, Nashville, in the deacon counseling ministry and most recently as a member at Hermitage Hills Baptist Church, Hermitage.
The Davises were also financial supporters of the SBC International Mission Board, Richmond, Va. Davis retired in 1988 as the systems manager for the Baptist Sunday School Board, Nashville, (LifeWay Christian Resources).
Along with Ann, they traveled with missions teams from the Sunday School Board. He began work at the Sunday School Board in 1967 where he was a lead systems analyst and was later promoted to management.
Survivors include: his wife, Jo Ann Davis of Mount Juliet; a son and a daughter; and three grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, the Davis family requests donations be sent to: Tennessee Baptist Convention Disaster Relief, P.O. Box 728, Brentwood, TN 37024-0728.
Tennessee Disaster Relief Teams Respond in Irene's Wake
September 1, 2011
BRENTWOOD - Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief chainsaw, assessment and chaplain teams are responding to the southwestern region of the Maryland Eastern Shore peninsula to assist homeowners in areas damaged over the weekend by Hurricane Irene, according to Tennessee state disaster relief director David Acres.
In addition, Frank Metcalfe, a disaster relief volunteer of the Cumberland Baptist Association, Clarksville, left Aug. 29 for New York State to serve as the Operations officer for the SBC North American Mission Board's New York Incident Command team. Metcalfe is expected to serve for two weeks on the team.
A combined eight-member team of chainsaw and chaplain volunteers from Sullivan Baptist Association, Kingsport; Holston Baptist Association, Johnson City; and Holston Valley Baptist Association, Rogersville, will leave Sept. 1 for Leonardtown, Md.
Also scheduled to leave Sept. 2 for Leonardtown are several volunteers making up chainsaw and chaplain teams from Bradley County Baptist Association, Cleveland, and Cumberland Association. Assessment volunteers are included in the Cumberland Association team.
Tennessee disaster relief units had remained on "stand-by" until Aug. 29 with volunteers ready to go to Hampton, Va., with a kitchen unit from Sullivan Baptist Association, Kingsport. The Sullivan Association kitchen unit was "stood down" Monday.
Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief Prepares for Hurricane Irene Response
August 27, 2011
Brentwood, TN - Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief (TBDR) leaders are in regular communication with North American Mission Board (NAMB) leadership and national response partners as Hurricane Irene comes ashore in North Carolina. Even as a category 1 storm, it is still expected to bring many inches of rain as it moves slowly across the Virginia tidewater area and into the heavily populated Northeast United States.
Currently TBDR is on “Alert” status. While on this status TBDR is communicating with leadership at all levels and evaluating various response scenarios. The next step will be to move to “Stand By” status when specific teams will be placed on stand-by with the expectation of moving out within forty-eight hours.
David Acres, TBDR Director has notified team leaders across the state of the "Alert" status and encouraged prayer, preparation and patience. “We pray that we won’t be needed, but must be prepared to go when called. The nature of this response may require we wait several days after the storm has passed before we are called out.”
Flooding is expected to cause the greatest damage during this storm. The slow moving storm will bring large amounts of rainfall to a heavily populated area resulting in both flash floods and the back-up of rivers and streams. Assessments teams already in place in North Carolina and Virginia will begin work as soon as the storms move through. While initial periods of power outages and the use of shelters will call for feeding units during the earliest days of the response, the greatest need is expected to be for mud-out teams throughout the Northeast United States. Naturally, these teams cannot be activated until the flood waters recede which may not be until closer to Labor Day weekend.
Randy Davis, Executive Director-Treasurer for the Tennessee Baptist Convention has issued a call for all Tennessee Baptist Churches to be in prayer on Sunday for the response to Hurricane Irene. He asked pastors to lead churches, “to pray for those who will be impacted by this devastating storm, as well as the emergency personnel who will be providing immediate assistance to those in danger or injured. Please also pray for our Southern Baptist Disaster Relief organization and volunteers.”
TBDR is prepared because Churches support the ministry through the Cooperative Program and the Golden Offering for Tennessee Missions. However, specific responses are financed through designated gifts, host churches, volunteers and partner response agencies. Individuals and churches may give to the relief effort on the www.tnbaptist.org website with a credit or debit card, or send a check to the TBC Accounting Office, P.O. Box 728, Brentwood, TN 37024.
Tennessee Baptists and others should check the TBC website for regular updates.
Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief Teams Respond to Summer Storms
June 6, 2011
(Brentwood) - Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief chain saw and chaplain teams responded this week to Joplin, Mo. and Brimfield, Mass., to help people whose lives were shattered by May/June severe storms and tornadoes, according to state disaster relief director David Acres.
A six-member Tennessee chaplain team left June 5 for Joplin to assist those who lost homes and relatives in a May 22 tornado. The team, composed of chaplains from Lawrence County Baptist Association, Leoma; Holston Baptist Association, Johnson City; Nashville Baptist Association, Nashville; and Mid-South Baptist Association, Memphis area; is being housed at Fellowship Baptist Church, Joplin.
In another response, a seven-member chain saw team from Nolachucky Baptist Association, Morristown, with a chaplain from Jefferson County Baptist Association, Jefferson City, left June 6 to help those in Brimfield whose homes and lives were destroyed by a June 1 tornado. The team is being housed at Friendship Baptist Church, Brimfield, Mass.
Storm Response Continues
May 9, 2011
Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief continues to minister in the name of Christ across the state in response to damaging storms and tornadoes that ripped through the state two weeks ago.
- Bradley County Baptist Association continues to coordinate TBDR chainsaw teams from across the state out of Waterville Baptist Church.
- TBDR Chainsaw Teams also continue to work in Hamilton County in the East Ridge and Apison communities.
- Clean up work is still taking place in the Watauga Baptist Association, where most of the response is taking place in Mountain City, TN.
- The TBDR Feeding Unit out of Shiloh Baptist Association has been placed on standby for Memphis, anticipating the evacuation of residents to American Red Cross shelters.
- Feeding units assigned to Martin and Greeneville, TN have been stood down.
Teams Continue to Respond
May 3, 2011
Flood waters in West TN continue to rise as the rain has continued to pour. Hardeman County Baptist Association’s TBDR Feeding Unit will begin work tomorrow, Wednesday, May 4, at lunch at Central Baptist Church, Martin. The unit is expected to feed up to 1,000 meals a day. The American Red Cross has set up 3 shelters in Martin, and there is a potential for 2 more to open in the area.
Meanwhile, TBDR Chainsaw Teams out of Chilhowee Baptist Association and Greenwood Baptist Church, Ooltewah, are working in the Hamilton Baptist Association and are stationed at Morris Hill Baptist Church in Chattanooga.
Chainsaw Teams in Response
May 2, 2011
As of April 30, 2011, the following chainsaw teams have been activated to help in these areas:
Bradley County Baptist Association
- Green Hill Baptist Church, Mt. Juliet
- Hermitage Hills Baptist Church, Hermitage
- Cumberland Plateau Baptist Association
- West Franklin Baptist Church, Franklin
- Local teams
- Big Emory Baptist Association
- Tusculum Hills Baptist Associaiton
- Nashville Baptist Association
- Watauga’s laundry unit
- Nolachucky Baptist Association
- Holston Baptist Association
- Local teams
- New Duck River Baptist Association
- Cumberland Baptist Association
- Sullivan Baptist Association’s feeding unit
Local teams that we are aware of that are serving in their own or close area:
- Beech River Baptist Association
- Bellevue Baptist Church, Cordova
- Cumberland Baptist Association
- Duck River Baptist Association – Huntland
- Giles County Baptist Association – Alabama (helping church members who live in Alabama)
- Hamilton County Baptist Association
- Hardeman County Baptist Association
- Knox County Baptist Association
- Madison/Chester Baptist Association
- New River/McCreary Baptist Association
- Sequatchie Baptist Association – Dunlap
- Shiloh/Weakley Baptist Association helping Gibson Baptist Association
- Truett Baptist Association
- William Carey Baptist Association – Lincoln County
- Wilson County Baptist Association
TBDR Teams Repsond to Storms
April 29, 2011
Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief (TBDR) teams have been active all week since the first storms came through West Tennessee on Tuesday. For the most part, our associational and church DR teams have responded in their local areas to the immediate needs of the local community. As search and rescue operations have transitioned into recovery efforts, these local teams have begun clearing downed trees and assisting victims as they can. Many of our local teams along with their churches have established small feeding ministries as needed. The Sullivan Baptist Association feeding unit is set up at FBC of Greeneville and began serving meals on Friday night. We do not anticipate much further in the way of feeding operations at this time.
On Thursday of this week, the Disaster Operations Center (DOC) was activated at the Baptist Center in Brentwood. TBDR volunteers contacted every associational DOM or DR director in TN, for an updated assessment of needs. In almost every instance, the local DR teams felt capable of handling the damage in their areas. Where assistance was needed neighboring DR teams have been activated. We do anticipate that as assessments continue and additional needs are discovered that additional teams may need to be activated to the hardest hit areas. Both our state and local TBDR leadership are very sensitive to not overwhelming an area with volunteers.
On the regional level, Alabama was the most devastated state. The Alabama Baptist Disaster Relief Ministry is working throughout the state and beginning to identify locations that need help and that can support (shelter and feed) volunteer recovery teams. The Florida Baptist Convention is responding first, as they had no damage recently. We do anticipate as fresh water and access is restored to many areas of northern Alabama, that Tennessee teams will be needed. Our TBDR leadership is in regular contact with the Alabama leadership and will activate teams to Alabama as soon as they are requested. Long-term recovery efforts in northern Alabama are expected to rely heavily on Tennessee teams.
A special fund has been established to assist in the immediate and long-term disaster relief efforts through the Tennessee Baptist Convention. Churches and individuals may give on-line with a credit or debit card or by sending a check to TN Baptist Convention Disaster Relief, P.O. Box 728, Brentwood, TN 30724, with the designation, “DR - Spring 2011 Tornadoes and Storms.”
For the latest information on Tennessee Baptists response to the storms, check the TBC web site regularly.
ALL TBDR Chainsaw Teams Placed on HIGH ALERT STANDBY
April 28, 2011
Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief Volunteers are working all across our great state to meet the needs of the victims of the severe weather that wreaked havoc in so many areas Tuesday and Wednesday. Chainsaw teams are hard at work removing trees that have damaged homes and yards. Assessments of damage are in progress and teams are working in their respective areas. TBDR leadership has been and will continue to be in constant contact with DR Teams working in response. Updates will be posted as information becomes available. Needs for additional TBDR volunteers from other areas of the state will be known once assessments are complete. ALL TBDR Chainsaw Teams have been placed on High Alert Standby and logistics are being worked out in local areas for housing of our volunteer teams.
Financial contributions can be made for victim’s assistance by clicking here.
Response to Severe Storms
April 27, 2011
Volunteers from Gibson, Cumberland, William Carey, Truett, and Lawrence County Baptist Associations are all working in response to severe thunderstorms that ripped through Tennessee last night and continue today. Many of the volunteers were already working to remove trees that had damaged homes on Monday night. Last night’s wave of bad weather has added more work. Tennessee Baptist Volunteer Chainsaw Teams of up to 20 are working between rain showers to help victims repair their homes. Damaged homes are the priority at this time.
Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief Volunteers in Lawrence County have been asked by the American Red Cross to feed up to 100 storm victims today at a local church. At this time it is not known whether or not there will be the need for a shelter for storm victims.
Assessments are continuing in other areas throughout our state.
Meanwhile, Chainsaw Teams out of Bradley County, Nolachucky and Holston Valley Associations will be leaving for North Carolina beginning Friday in response to the widespread damage caused by tornadoes last weekend.
BGR Continues Relief Work in Japan
March 25, 2011
Southern Baptist Disaster Relief efforts are taking shape and beginning to move forward in Japan. Working with IMB personnel, local Japanese Churches and both Japanese Conventions, Baptist Global Response is beginning to get personnel and supplies into the northern areas of Japan, where the damage has been most severe. Japanese Baptists are leading in the distribution and support effort. DR response team members are providing training and logistical support to these Christian brothers and sisters.
Jeff Palmer, BGR Executive Director reports that there is an openness to the gospel in Japan that comes with crises. Continue to pray for our team and the Japanese Baptists to have wisdom and knowledge as they seek to help and proclaim.
Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief continues to engage with BGR and other states as the Japan relief efforts continues. Churches and individuals may give directly to BGR or through the TBC for Japan Disaster Relief.
Initial Relief Effort Underway in Japan
March 18, 2011
Southern Baptist relief efforts are getting underway in Japan following the massive earthquake and devastating tsunami that hit the island nation. Baptist Global Response is leading the effort in cooperation with Japanese Baptists and other humanitarian groups.
A second team is headed to Tokyo to set up a command center for a unified Southern Baptist Disaster Relief effort. The hope is to create a supply channel to assist those impacted by the disaster with life-essential items. Government restrictions on foreign volunteers, travel restrictions and the continuing nuclear crisis will prevent a large-scale volunteer response at this time. However, relief efforts are expected to be in progress for several years to come.
Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief officials are in regular communication with BGR leadership and have offered whatever assistance is needed both locally and globally. BGR international offices are located in Nashville. Updates on Southern Baptist relief efforts can be found at www.gobgr.org.
Japan Earthquake Relief Update
March 14, 2011
Baptist Global Response (BGR) partners are on the ground in Japan and meeting with representatives of the Tokyo Baptist Church, Japanese Baptist Convention, and other non-governmental organizations to assess how best Southern Baptists can respond to this on-going crisis. Aftershocks continue to shake the area, disrupting relief efforts, transportation and other parts of the infrastructure. Fuel, food and other supplies are limited and very few are allowed to travel into the disaster zone.
“The Japanese government is very strong and able to respond and is not asking for private help from outsiders,” according to Jeff Palmer, BGR executive director. Therefore, the use of Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers will be limited at best. Tennessee and Southern Baptists can best help at this time with a concerted prayer effort and monetary donations through BGR www.gobgr.org. Additional reports from IMB missionaries appear on the IMB website www.imb.org.
March 11, 2011
Please be in prayer for those impacted by the Japan earthquake today. Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief leadership is monitoring the situation closely.
Based on the SBDR International Response plan, Baptist Global Response (BGR) will take the initial lead in assessing the situation and how Southern Baptists can best respond. BGR has Baptist partners in the area who are moving to assess the damage even now. It is unknown at this point if volunteers will be needed. If so, AL is the first state convention on call during March. TN is the first state on call during the month of May each year. However, a large volunteer response may necessitate trained personnel from multiple states being involved in the effort.
Your Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief staff will continue to keep you informed on this situation. More detailed information, as it is available, will be posted to TBC web site.