Most North Carolinians were surprised
by the storm system that moved across the state April 16.
Blazing a trail in what meteorologists called a “squall
line,” the National Weather Service had confirmed 28 tornadoes ripped
neighborhoods and businesses apart, killing 24 people in the state.
“You learn that there are a lot of people who want to help,”
said Richard Brunson, executive director of North Carolina Baptist Men, “a lot
of people with big hearts … a lot of people who want to do what they can to
help their neighbors.”
As of April 25 Baptist Men was working in 13 locations in 12
counties: Bertie, Bladen, Craven, Cumberland,
Johnson, Lee, Onslow, Person, Wake and Wilson.
Thousands of volunteers have provided many services to their
neighbors in need.
Samaritan’s Purse, a nondenominational evangelical Christian
organization based in Boone, responded to the disaster by sending staff and
equipment to three of the hardest hit areas.
More than 400 volunteers in Bertie, Cumberland,
and Wake counties are ministering to the storm victims by cleaning up debris
and making emergency repairs on houses.
As of April 21 Samaritan’s Purse had received 70 requests
for help in a four-mile radius around Wake
Cross Roads Baptist
Church in Raleigh.
“I always thought if I did a little piece of work I should
get paid,” said a youth volunteer from Highland
“But this week I realized if the Lord can open the doors to
heaven free then we can (show) love (for) others.”
Brunson said Baptist Men is in it for the long haul.
At this stage the work is winding down in some areas but the
hardest hit like Wake, Cumberland
and Lee counties, where the Baptist Men has created hubs of activity, will be
in the emergency stage for at least a couple more weeks.
The emergency stage involves chainsaw teams, debris removal,
covering holes with tarps, etc.
The next stage would be repairing the damage like the hole
in a roof.
Baptist Men and Samaritan’s Purse are working out of the
same site in Colerain.
“Everybody is needed,” Brunson said.
On April 16, as soon as a tornado had come and gone, Baptist
Men sent assessment personnel out to see what response would be needed.
“We need to be where the greatest need is,” Brunson said.
With tornadoes, Brunson said it was hard for people to know
where to go and what to do.
“It’s just so quick,” he said.
To help visit www.baptistsonmission.org or donate to North
Carolina Baptist Men, P.O. Box 1107, Cary, NC 27512. Call (800) 395-5102, ext.
5599, to volunteer.
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