Illinois flood callout complete, Missouri recovery ongoing
Illinois Disaster Relief volunteers were busy with flood recovery efforts in two states throughout the month of January. They came to the aid of flood victims after holiday storms dumped 10 or more inches of rain across Illinois and Missouri.
Flooding in the states killed at least two dozen people, affected roughly 5,000 homes and temporarily closed portions of Interstate 44 and Interstate 70. The flooding was particularly bad in Missouri where in some areas along the Mississippi, floodwaters rose to 48.9 feet, surpassing the 1993 record by nearly half a foot. “It’s bigger than people realize,” said Joe Banderman, leader of the Missouri Baptist Convention’s collegiate relief team. “Unless you’re here, it’s hard to get an idea of the scope of the flooding.”
Illinois DR teams were kept busy in the rural Illinois town of Kincaid, extreme Southern Illinois in Alexander County, and in the suburban St. Louis town of Arnold, Missouri.
Flood recovery work includes helping homeowners dispose of flood-soaked belongings, ripping out floors and walls, spraying mold repellent on the remaining wall studs and floor joists. The process is very emotional for the victims.
Missouri was hit particularly hard by the flooding, said Dwain Carter, the Missouri Baptist Convention’s disaster relief director. He hopes Southern Baptists can continue to help families by deploying volunteer teams to assist in flood recovery, following the departure of teams in late January who prepared meals and engaged in various facets of outreach to flood victims.
“Our Disaster Relief teams had a great impact in Kincaid and also in several small communities in Southern Illinois,” said Rex Alexander, IBSA’s DR coordinator. “These smaller towns are often ignored during times of disaster and the residents were especially grateful for our ministry.”
He expressed his gratitude for all the volunteers who served during the coldest month of the year. “Their commitment and service to the Lord is an example for all of us to follow!”
Carter said the sacrificial service of disaster relief volunteers from 21 state conventions painted a “perfect picture” of Southern Baptist cooperation. “We talk about cooperative giving a lot, but this was a cooperative effort to overcome a disaster,” he said.
“Southern Baptist Disaster Relief,” he added, “is a cooperation of thousands of Southern Baptists to bring hope, help and healing while transforming lives and communities through the Gospel.”
In all, 48 volunteers from Capitol City and Metro East Associations served in Kincaid, while 41 volunteers from Harrisburg First Baptist and Williamson Association served in Olive Branch. A team of 14 volunteers from First Baptist Galatia worked in Arnold.
If you would like to become a disaster relief volunteer, training events are scheduled for April 8-9 at Western Oaks Baptist in Springfield, April 22-23 at Streator Baptist Camp in Streator, and October 14-15 at Lake Sallateeska Baptist Camp in Pinckneyville. For more information visit www.IBSA.org/DR or call Rex Alexander at (217) 391-3134.
– With additional reporting by Baptist Press