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7/23/97 Baptist post-Danny relief work waiting for go-ahead conditions

MOBILE, Ala. (BP)–It’s a game of hurry up and wait. Disaster relief volunteers across Alabama as well as in neighboring states are ready to tackle the aftermath along Alabama’s Gulf Coast from Hurricane Danny, but until the waters recede the zealous volunteers are paralyzed.
Reggie Quimby, associate in the Alabama State Board of Mission’s Brotherhood department, said the teams cannot do anything until they have word of exactly what is needed. Until the scattered afternoon showers break long enough to allow the sun to dry up some of the water, the exact extent of the damage is impossible to obtain, he noted. “We are ready to go, but waiting for a definite word.”
In the meantime, Quimby is organizing disaster relief efforts with the coast’s Baldwin Baptist Association as well as with Georgia and South Carolina Baptists.
With the some 150 homes along Fish River in Baldwin County the worst hit by the July 19-20 storm that beat the area with hurricane- force winds for about 24 hours, mud-out and cleanup recovery efforts are the primary focus.
Mobile County escaped Danny with only minor reports of roof damages, flooding and downed tree limbs. Of the Baptist churches in the area, Woodmont Baptist in Mobile received the greatest damage when a mud slide slid into the side of the church. Pastor Lou Fortier said the church suffered only minor flooding, but because the mud slid into the base of the church it will have to be removed as soon as possible. “It is not something we can do ourselves,” he said, noting that heavy equipment will be required to move the mud.
While several churches and residents are still assessing damage, volunteer teams are ready to clean up Baldwin County homes that were almost totally submerged over the weekend, Quimby said. Once the mud along with the furnishings and appliances are removed, a home can be washed with a power pressure sprayer. It then must totally dry out before it can be repaired and moved back into, Quimby explained. “It is a long process, and that process is only delayed when the rains continue,” he said.
While Quimby plans to invite mud-out teams from Georgia and South Carolina to help with the relief efforts because their units are better specialized for mud-outs, some local Baldwin County Baptist volunteers also are ready for action.
The first group leading cleanup efforts consists of members of First Baptist Church Bay Minette, six summer missionaries from Baldwin association and two “US2er” workers assigned by the North American Mission Board to resort ministries. The volunteer group will be helping an elderly couple from Fish River Baptist Church as soon as they can get down the dirt road the couple’s house is on, said Ron Jackson, pastor of Fish River Baptist.
“Their house was inundated with water up to the door tops and they have just about lost everything,” Jackson said. The church is currently furnishing the couple a place to stay, he noted.
Loyd Kindiger, director of church development for the Baldwin association and associational contact person for the cleanup effort, said the group planned to begin the cleanup process on Wednesday, July 23.

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  • Jennifer Davis Rash