News Articles

DR DIGEST: Texas, Oklahoma Baptists responding to fires in their own states

Texans on Mission serving in Panhandle; more on the way

By Ferrell Foster/Texas Baptist Men

DALLAS (BP) – The Texas Panhandle is burning, and TBM: Texans on Mission is rushing volunteers and water to the scene.

“This is devastating. Our volunteers live all over Texas, and those in the Panhandle quickly responded,” said David Wells, Texans on Mission Disaster Relief director. “They were in Fritch Tuesday night as the city evacuated, and about 100 homes were damaged or destroyed.”

Texans on Mission volunteers beyond the Panhandle are now heading to the scene. A mobile Command Center and staff are en route, as well as two shower/laundry units and assessors.

“This is the first wave,” Wells said. “The Command Center provides a communications hub for our volunteers so we can put them in the best position to serve. The assessors are in the field gathering specific information for our volunteer teams, and the shower/laundry units will serve Texas Task Force 1 and others over a multi-day deployment.”

Additional Texans on Mission units are on standby and expected to be deployed soon – fire/flood recovery, feeding, chaplain, heavy equipment, chainsaw, asset protection, electronic support, box and others.

Thursday morning (Feb. 29), pallets of bottled water left Texans on Mission’s Dallas headquarters headed to the Panhandle.

Mickey Lenamon, executive director/CEO, asked Texans to pray for the people living and suffering through this disaster. And he asked people to also pray for TBM volunteers.

“This is a dangerous situation,” Lenamon said. “The days ahead will require long hours of service in a sensitive situation. People have lost everything they own. They’re looking for help. But they’re also looking for hope for the days ahead.

“Please pray that Texans on Mission volunteers can provide the practical help people need and can point people to Christ, who brings hope and healing. Whether you are on a team serving or are praying from your home, each of us has a role when Texans on Mission responds after a disaster.”

To support Texans on Mission’s response financially, visit tbmtx.org/panhandle.

Oklahoma DR responding to wildfires in that state

By Bob Nigh/Oklahoma Baptists

OKLAHOMA CITY (BP) – Oklahoma Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers responded quickly Feb. 28 to provide relief following devastating wildfires that swept through northwest parts of the state the evening before.

“Our volunteers are delivering pallets of water, snacks, etc. to Gage and other parts of Ellis County,” said Oklahoma Baptists Disaster Relief Director Jason Yarbrough. “I have requested ash-out recovery teams to respond to that area, as there are about a dozen homes impacted or destroyed. This would include a feeding team in addition to our other volunteers.”

Yarbrough added, “I was also called by our disaster relief friends in Texas to be on alert for the possibility of helping with homes in Texas Panhandle.”

Public safety officials in Ellis County reportedly ordered evacuations in both Gage and Shattuck Tuesday afternoon (Feb. 27) once a wildfire crossed into the state from the Texas panhandle. Strong winds, dry grass and unseasonably warm highs fueled the blaze, The Associated Press reported. The largest blaze, known as the Smokehouse Creek Fire, forced the closing of highways in the area.

On Monday (Feb. 26), wildfires also were reported in Latimer, Harper, Woods, Okfuskee and Pontotoc counties.

DR is asking for additional ash-out volunteers needed for fire cleanup in the Ellis County area (Shattuck/Gage area). Certified DR volunteers are asked to contact Jay Austin at 589/228-4707. A volunteer team will deploy Monday, March 4, from the DR Team Center in Okarche.

For more information on Disaster Relief or to donate, visit okdisasterhelp.org.

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