Colbert-Lauderdale Association volunteers help with chain saw tasks, feeding unitcomment (0)
May 17, 2012
By Leigh Pritchett
Last year was a busy one for disaster relief volunteers in Alabama.
Butch Hillis — a member of Woodmont Baptist Church, Florence, in Colbert-Lauderdale Baptist Association and disaster relief coordinator for the District 10 region of Alabama Baptist associations — was one of those who devoted much time to assisting in crises.
On April 27, 2011, he and others from Colbert-Lauderdale Association’s disaster relief chain saw crew were working in Florence and Sheffield after storms had passed that way.
Hillis said the group was asked to respond to Hackleburg and had planned to head there after completing the tasks on which it was working.
But that afternoon, “everybody was tired and soaking wet from working in the rain,” Hillis said.
The crew decided to get some rest before going to Hackleburg, Hillis recounted.
Had the members instead left for Hackleburg at that time, they would have been there when a deadly tornado struck, Hillis said.
“The Lord had His hand on us,” he observed.
The next day, the crew was directed to Phil Campbell, where members cut trees for a week until groups from Oklahoma, Mississippi and Florida arrived.
The out-of-state volunteers stayed at First Baptist Church, Russellville, and were served by a shower unit from Mobile.
In addition to assisting with chain saw tasks, Hillis helped to recruit volunteers to man a feeding unit at First Baptist Church, Phil Campbell. Hillis said the volunteers worked until July 29, 2011.
In late May 2011, another storm system created more work for Colbert-Lauderdale Association’s chain saw crew. Hillis said the group worked into August to complete the tasks created by that storm.
Although disaster relief training was planned at Hillis’ church in May 2011, the session was postponed until September because those who were to conduct it were busy with disaster relief responsibilities, Hillis said.
When the session finally was held, one newly trained participant left the following Monday to assist along the East Coast after Hurricane Irene.
Also, in September and October, after helping in North Carolina, Hillis and 11 other disaster relief volunteers from Alabama were asked by the North American Mission Board to serve in New York after Hurricane Irene. These volunteers were to help oversee 200 college students who had been trained in mud-out through Virginia’s disaster relief resources.
In September, Woodmont Baptist helped to fund and build a home for a man in Phil Campbell.
“They were through with it in three weeks,” Hillis reported.
The busy year of disaster relief in Alabama “has shown a lot of brotherly love,” Hillis said. “It shows that Jesus can do anything.”
Hillis said it has demonstrated that God will provide help to the area where it is needed.
“I’ve got a great bunch of people up here that’ll drop everything and go almost any time,” Hillis continued.
Plus, Hillis said Colbert-Lauderdale Association Director of Missions Eddy Garner gives “110 percent support” to the disaster relief team.