More than 1,000 homes, businesses, churches and schools were damaged or destroyed when tornadoes with winds approaching 135 miles per hour swept through Guilford and Rockingham counties April 15.
NC Baptist Men and Women Disaster Relief Facebook photo
Baptists on Mission Disaster Relief Volunteers David Mainesmith and Elaine Cooper share the Good News that God loves her with a Greensboro homeowner as other volunteers work to clear tornado debris from her property.
North Carolina Baptists on Mission (NCBM), also known as N.C. Baptist Men, responded quickly to the disaster, setting up two sites April 16 – Greensboro and Reidsville. By April 17, 10 projects had been completed.
“I am grateful for those that give up their time and resources to help others in Jesus’ name,” said Gaylon Moss, NCBM disaster relief coordinator, stressing one of the key characteristics of any volunteer is flexibility and a need to serve with “open hands, open heart.”
Volunteers assist homeowners with cleanup needs, covering roofs, cutting trees and removing debris.
An update April 23 indicated that most of the Reidsville jobs were completed and that Greensboro work was expected to continue for about another week.
“My son just kept praying that God would keep everyone safe,” said Stephanie Pulliam. “After the storm, I remarked to him that he prayed for everyone but himself. He said he knew God was with us so he needed to pray for other people. I am so proud of him.”
Pulliam received a Bible signed by volunteers who worked on her house in Reidsville.
Kathleen Bailey’s husband died two years ago, so having help with cleanup efforts soothed Bailey’s spirit.
“I am so thankful for this help,” she said. “I don’t know what I would have done without it. I just hid in a closet and prayed while the tornado hit.”
An April 27 Facebook post for “NC Baptist Men and Women Disaster Relief Ministry” indicated that work is transitioning from tree work to roofing, so leaders encouraged those with roofing skills to volunteer soon.
Moss said volunteers are still needed in four locations – Black River (Pender County), Goldsboro, Lumberton and Windsor – in response to the devastation of Hurricane Matthew in 2016.
And last year’s Hurricane Irma/Maria combination devastated Puerto Rico, where volunteer teams are mainly roofing houses.
For the latest on the tornado recovery efforts, visit baptistsonmission.org/apr15tornado.
There is a volunteer button to sign up, as well as a donate button to give. Send checks to NCBM, P.O. Box 1107, Cary, NC 27512. Designate “April 15 Tornado Efforts.”
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Some of Larry High’s reports to NCBM were used for this article.)