SBTC DR UPDATE: Teams head out to help in aftermath of Colorado fires

Colorado wildfires SBTC DR
With other states not currently needing more assistance following recent disasters, SBTC DR teams have turned their focus to providing relief in Colorado, where wildfires recently destroyed more than 6,000 acres of land and hundreds of homes. (Issy Bailey/Unsplash)

BOULDER COUNTY, Colo.—Volunteers with Southern Baptists of Texas Convention Disaster Relief are heading to Colorado to help clean up damage caused by the 6,025-acre Marshall Fire, which destroyed hundreds of homes southeast of Boulder in January.

SBTC DR bunkhouses stationed at Melissa and Waxahachie are already en route to the Rocky Mountain State, driven by volunteers Mike Lene and Norman Prewitt, SBTC DR Director Scottie Stice said. Colorado Baptist DR will use the units to house volunteers working out of Reclamation Church in Boulder, Stice said.

“CO DR asked for the bunkhouses ASAP and we responded,” Stice explained, noting that two recovery teams from Bonham and Bellville are also preparing to deploy. The teams will be shoveling ash and assisting people in sifting through debris for valuables left after the fire.

“Some people have lost everything in this fire and our volunteer teams from across the state are ready to serve and assist them,” Stice said, noting that additional teams may be requested.  “We want those affected by the fire to know that there is hope and they are not alone.”

SBTC DR at the ready

A hallmark of all Southern Baptist Disaster Relief is readiness, as was shown recently by SBTC DR’s recent preparation to help survivors of December’s tornadoes in Arkansas, Kentucky, and Tennessee.

SBTC DR units were set to deploy in tornado response, but their assistance as part of the SBDR national network was not needed at this time.

Daniel White, SBTC DR associate, explained the process in an email to DR volunteers: “When a disaster strikes out of state, we wait on the affected state to ask for our help. Civil authorities spend days conducting search and rescue operations, and NGOs (non-governmental organizations) are not allowed into the area until that is complete.”

Each state hit by the recent tornadoes has a strong SBDR ministry, White said. Arkansas needed no help; Tennessee received ample assistance from neighboring states and the state’s own volunteers; Missouri Baptist DR was assigned to help western Kentucky and call upon SBTC DR as needed. SBTC DR teams were scheduled to deploy but stood down when the work proved less than anticipated.

“The states all had more teams in the field than work to be done,” White said.

DR task force meets in Ennis

Meanwhile, SBTC DR task force members gathered Jan. 7-8 in Ennis to debrief 2021 and look ahead to 2022.

“We had good discussions about the major response of the year, which was to Hurricane Ida, especially in Golden Meadow and Gonzales, La.,” Stice said.

The need for additional SBTC DR workers was among the topics broached. For information on becoming a credentialed volunteer, visit https://sbtexas.com/disaster-relief/#training.

 

 

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