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‘Mud-out’ duty next in Texas for Baptist vols from 3 states

SAN ANTONIO (BP)–After serving more than 100,000 meals to south Texas flood victims, Baptist disaster relief volunteers from three states laid down their ladles and picked up shovels and shop vacs for messy “mud-out” duty.
At the request of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Baptists also opened five temporary emergency child-care centers servicing the 25-county federal disaster area.
Regional Texas Baptist disaster relief mobile units from Wichita-Archer-Clay Baptist Association and Tarrant Baptist Association ended their emergency food service operation at San Antonio’s Fort Sam Houston on Oct. 28. Oklahoma Baptists closed the field kitchen at First Baptist Church, Rosenberg, Texas, the same day.
Texas Baptists continued to cook meals in the field kitchen of their disaster relief mobile unit at New Braunfels, Texas. American Red Cross workers used emergency response vehicles to deliver the food to displaced families throughout the San Antonio, New Braunfels and Seguin area. Arkansas Baptists continued preparing meals from their base at First Baptist Church, Victoria, Texas, serving the Victoria, Cuero and Wharton area.
Moving from the immediate disaster relief phase into disaster recovery, Texas Baptists began mobilizing volunteer mud-out crews. Tommy Dulin of River Hills Baptist Church, Corpus Christi, served as on-site coordinator for mud-out crews in the Victoria-Cuero-Wharton region. Eddie Fonseca of Iglesia Bautista Sur Zarzamora in San Antonio coordinated mud-out operations along the southern Interstate 35 corridor.
An 18-wheel tractor-trailer rig filled with mud-out equipment supplied by Samaritan’s Purse, a North Carolina-based Christian humanitarian organization headed by evangelist Franklin Graham, was scheduled to arrive in Victoria on Oct. 29. North Carolina Baptist Men were slated to staff a mud-out crew in that area.
In less than 24 hours after FEMA requested child care, the Texas Baptist Temporary Emergency Child Care Unit was on site at the FEMA office in New Braunfels. Similar Baptist child care units from Oklahoma, Mississippi, Tennessee and Missouri were setting up centers at FEMA sites in San Antonio, Victoria, Cuero and Wharton.
The units, generally set up adjacent to FEMA field offices, allow children to get a hot, balanced meal at noon and provide parents time to clean up their homes and begin the application process for federal disaster assistance.
Trained volunteers use carefully developed instructional modules to help children cope with the trauma of disaster. The units are approved by the Department of Human Resources as an authorized child-care center in disasters.
Keith Crouch, director of Texas Baptists’ church building planning department, surveyed church facility damage in Victoria, Cuero, Schertz and New Braunfels on Oct. 28-29.
At least eight churches were eligible for immediate grants of $5,000 each, and several also qualified for small church loans from the Baptist General Convention of Texas, Crouch reported.
The Texas Baptist Family Assistance Task Force had disbursed $37,500 in aid to four associations in south-central Texas by Oct.28, and many additional requests were anticipated from associations to the southeast, according to Milfred Minatrea, director of the BGCT church ministries department.
Floodwaters damaged the homes of 13 member families at Mission Bautista, Cuero. Ten of those homes were total losses, and two of those households also lost family owned businesses to the floods.
Even so, many of those hard-hit families worked first to clean up and repair their church building, then went as a group from house to house cleaning homes, Crouch noted.
“The neighborhood was so impressed by the way the Baptists stuck together and worked as a group to help those in need,” he said.
While volunteers labored throughout the flooded south-central and southeastern parts of the state, other Texas Baptists gave to support the ongoing disaster relief ministries.
Lakeland Baptist Church in Lewisville, Texas, collected $13,000 for disaster relief at its services on Oct. 18. First Baptist Church of Garland, Texas, contributed $4,100 to the effort.
Perhaps the most memorable gift was a $290.13 check from Ollene Paris of Granbury, Texas, mailed along with a note indicating it was all that was left in her mother’s checking account when she died.
“This is not much,” she wrote, “but I know she would be pleased that it went to help those in need.”
Contributions designated to “Baptist Executive Board” are sent to the Treasurer’s office, Baptist General Convention of Texas, 333 N. Washington, Dallas TX 75246-1798.

    About the Author

  • Ken Camp