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First SBTC Disaster Relief unit of its kind now online in Houston

January 4th, 2017 / By: Jane Rodgers | TEXAN Correspondent / comments

HOUSTON—Last November, Scottie Stice prayed for 25 new disaster relief units. When the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention director of disaster relief announced at an SBTC executive board orientation in 2015 his hope that four or five units per year would “come online,” newly elected SBTC president Nathan Lino, pastor of Northeast Houston Baptist Church (NEHBC), exclaimed, “We want one of those!”

This December, NEHBC got its pastor’s wish when DR task force member Doug Scott transported an inactive recovery unit from San Antonio to the Houston-area church.

“The trailer is set up for clean-up and recovery,” Scott said. “There’s chainsaw capability. It is also set up for mud-out. It has everything you would need to go in and clean up a house.”

The Northeast Houston unit is the first of its kind in the greater Houston area. “We are expecting great things down here,” Scott said.

Last spring’s severe East Texas floods precipitated NEHBC’s interest in disaster relief. Stice said that more than 1,000 disaster relief volunteers were trained in the Houston area, many at Lino’s church.

“We are short of units in Houston,” Stice confirmed, noting the age of the membership of NEHBC as an added bonus. “Most of our units are manned by older volunteers. This one is at a much younger church. We are happy.”

Lonnie Galyean, director of the church’s unit, expressed surprise at the scarcity of DR units in Houston. “I thought it was important to establish one here at least as a foothold,” Galyean said. “Hopefully we can get other churches involved to also have units.”

Plans to feature the new DR unit at the church’s January ministries and missions fair are under way, Galyean said. Many members served in the DR feeding ministry headquartered at First Baptist Humble during the spring floods.

SBTC DR is edging closer to Stice’s goal of 25 new deployable units. Stice said that some 12 disaster relief units are in various stages of development at SBTC churches across the state, including New Life Baptist Church (Primera Iglesia Bautista Nueva Vida) in Dallas, First Baptist Church of Borger, Mission Dorado Baptist Church in Odessa and First Baptist Church of Bellville.

In addition to new recovery units, SBTC DR added a command center, bunkhouse and new UTV this fall.

The command center is housed in a trailer pulled by a Ford F-250 pickup truck and contains an office, computer stations, a generator, desks and satellite capability.

The 53-foot, four-room bunkhouse sleeps 14 and features a kitchenette, bathroom and shower. It will provide much-needed living quarters when units deploy to smaller churches or when facilities are overwhelmed.

DR task force member Mike Northen recalled a deployment to Port Arthur when the team had to sleep in a parking lot because the city had been evacuated. “It was hot, humid, and full of mosquitoes. The bunkhouse would have been very, very helpful.”

Mike Jansen, SBTC DR task force member, added that a new ADA compliant laundry and shower unit was also in development in response to repeated requests for accessible facilities.

SBTC DR acquired a new Kubota RTV500 utility task vehicle to accompany the Kawasaki mule already in use. Stice confirmed that one or both UTVs will accompany SBTC DR units whenever deployed.

“The potential [for a disaster] is always there. That’s up to the Lord. He gets our attention through disasters and many people come to know the Lord through disasters,” Doug Scott said.

—Bill Bumpas contributed to this article.

2016 Disaster Relief By the Numbers

  • 5,066 volunteer days
  • 22 different disasters
  • 786 recovery sites
  • 172,283 meals prepared for victims and responders
  • 5,489 showers provided
  • 2,684 loads of laundry done
  • 696 gospel presentations
  • 195 people professing faith in Jesus Christ

 

2017 SBTC Disaster Relief Training Calendar

  • January 14 Phase 1 Intro to DR | First Baptist Rosehill, Tomball
  • February 10 Phase 2 | Hillcrest Baptist Church, Jasper
  • February 11 Phase 1 Intro to DR | Hillcrest Baptist Church, Jasper
  • February 27 Phase 1 | Irving Convention Center at Las Colinas, Irving (Empower Conference pre-session)
  • March 11 Phase 1 Intro to DR | First Baptist Church, Madisonville
  • May 1 Phase 1 Intro to DR | Panfork Baptist Encampment, Wellington
  • May 2 Phase 2 | Panfork Baptist Encampment, Wellington
  • October 6 Phase 2 | Flint Baptist Church, Flint
  • October 7 Phase 1 Intro to DR | Flint Baptist Church, Flint