LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (BP)–While disaster relief work continued in Oklahoma and Missouri following the recent ice storm, an Arkansas disaster relief volunteer was killed in a car accident while returning to his home in Osceola, Ark.
Roger Glenn Loyd, 47, died Feb. 3 from injuries sustained in an accident that occurred near Ravenden, Ark. The driver of the vehicle and another passenger were slightly injured in the accident.
Services for Loyd were held Feb. 6 at Calvary Baptist Church in Osceola where he was an active member.
A “blue cap” on a chainsaw team from the Mississippi County Baptist Association in Blytheville, Ark., Loyd had spent the week volunteering in southwest Missouri. He had been based at First Baptist Church in Sarcoxie, Mo., south of Joplin.
“Glenn was a dynamic guy and a real valuable member of the team,” said Bill Cantrell, disaster relief coordinator for the Arkansas Baptist State Convention. “He was trained to work with the feeding units, as a chainsaw team volunteer and was a ham radio operator. He had a heart for the Lord and for ministry and wanted to reach out to those in need. He was also a trained chaplain and he shared the Gospel all the time.”
Loyd used all of his five-week vacation last year to help out in disaster relief ministries, Cantell said, adding, “I wish I had 100 other men like him serving in disaster relief.”
Survivors include his wife Karen; two daughters, Jessica Loyd of Wilson, Ark., and Michele Isbell of Conway, Ark.; his parents, Barbara and J.C. Loyd of Wilson; two sisters, Robin Loyd of Osceola and Donna Hilton of Arkadelphia, Ark.; and one granddaughter, Kauri Rose.
In southwest Missouri, some 200 volunteers continue to work at 13 different sites to cut down, trim and remove trees and downed limbs in the wake of the massive ice storm that hit the area three weeks ago.
Fifteen chainsaw teams from 17 different states have completed about half of the 3,500 chainsaw job requests from the brutal storm. The responding state conventions include Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Missouri, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and Minnesota/Wisconsin.
Danny Decker, disaster relief director for the Missouri Baptist Convention, said the effort includes almost 4,000 “volunteer days” and 27,000 meals served.
“It’s a great effort put forth by Southern Baptists working together to accomplish what we could never do by ourselves,” Decker said. “It would be impossible.”
In east Oklahoma, where 32 people died as a result from the ice storm, nine chainsaw teams are still working in an area 150 miles long and 25 miles wide, reported Sam Porter, disaster relief director for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma.
Porter said his state’s command center in Muskogee fielded 3,000 requests for chainsaw assistance, and “we’ll probably have thousands of additional requests we won’t be able to get to.”
Porter said 12 state conventions have provided 500 chainsaw and feeding volunteers to Oklahoma: California, Utah/Idaho, New Mexico, Colorado, Mississippi, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Florida, North Carolina, Arkansas and Missouri. He said the Arkansas Baptist Convention also provided chaplains, one of whom is embedded with every chainsaw team. To date, some 100,000 meals have been served by Southern Baptist feeding units in Oklahoma, Porter said.
“Although it’s been a major disaster, it’s been a great witnessing opportunity for local Southern Baptist churches,” he said. “Local people know that the chainsaw teams are connected to their local Baptist churches.
“Affected people will tell our crews, ‘But we’re not Baptists,’ and we tell them it makes no difference,” Porter said. “People are overwhelmed that every guy working with a chainsaw is a volunteer. It takes them by surprise. And when they ask why we do that, we share Christ with them.
Mickey Noah is a writer with the Southern Baptist North American Mission Board; Stella Prather is associate editor of the Arkansas Baptist News.