Disaster Relief volunteers rerouted to Jacksonville College

JACKSONVILLE, Texas—Nine SBTC Disaster Relief workers en route to Wimberley were rerouted to Jacksonville College on May 27 to respond to damage caused by straight-line winds estimated by the National Weather Service at 60-80 miles per hour that blew through the East Texas community late Monday afternoon.

“DR volunteers from Lufkin, Onalaska, Madisonville, Rusk and Lake Palestine are here,” Garry McDugle, SBTC DR incident commander at Jacksonville, confirmed. “Most were on their way to Wimberley and were redirected at the last minute to come to Jacksonville.”

SBTC DR efforts have focused on Jacksonville College, where at least 20 trees are down, McDugle said.  A large tree fell on a home owned by the college and used for student housing.  Two of the largest trees fell into the college parking lot.

SBTC volunteers have been engaged in chainsaw, rigging and climbing work, McDugle said, noting that Jacksonville College president Mike Smith is working with teams and ministering to a family living near the college whose home was damaged by a fallen tree.

As of Wednesday, electricity had not been restored to the college and to other parts of Jacksonville.

McDugle expected DR efforts to extend to the home of an elderly couple across the street from Jacksonville College. “The retired couple used to teach at the college,” McDugle said. “Trees are leaning on their home, and we are planning to help them.”

SBTC volunteers continue to survey neighborhoods and assess damage for additional needs.

McDugle said he expected SBTC DR volunteers to remain in Jacksonville at least until the weekend.

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