SBTC DR teams end response to East Texas tornadoes, move to Missouri

May 17th, 2017 / By: Jane Rodgers | TEXAN Correspondent / comments

CANTON, Texas—SBTC disaster relief teams ended a nearly two-week deployment to East Texas Sat., May 13, where they assisted victims of four tornadoes that hit Van Zandt, Henderson and Rains counties in late April and early May. DR volunteers arrived in Canton on May 1.

SBTC DR efforts focused on the communities of Canton, Emory and Fruitvale, said SBTC white cap Mike Benton of Bishop, Texas.

More than 346 volunteer days were logged as some 25-35 DR personnel per day completed 79 work orders by tarping roofs, clearing debris and doing chainsaw work on damaged and downed trees, said Scottie Stice, SBTC director of disaster relief.  

SBTC chaplains and crews made dozens of spiritual contacts, resulting in nine professions of faith, Stice added.

“Many families were helped with the clearing of trees and debris. Canton has served as a great example of how SBTC disaster relief volunteers are able to minister to spiritual needs as well as meet physical needs,” Stice said.

Benton praised all volunteers, noting one group from Bellville, Texas, who were particularly skilled in climbing as high as 35 feet in the air to reach large broken limbs that could prove hazardous.

“They did a lot of good work. They cut limbs from trees and handled the ‘widow makers’ [dangerous limbs] that were our biggest concern,” Benton said, adding that crews used their training in rigging to prevent some limbs from dropping on houses.

Benton also lauded Canton’s Crossroads Church, which hosted SBTC volunteers. “They were very helpful and gracious. They fed us way too much food, some of the best food we’ve ever had on deployment,” Benton said with a chuckle.

While the SBTC’s participation in East Texas ended last weekend, a DR team was dispatched to Doniphan, Missouri, on Sun., May 14, to work with Missouri Disaster Relief in their response to the historic floods in their state, Stice said, adding that two additional crews will deploy to Missouri the week of May 22.

“When we finish in Missouri, we will focus on Arkansas,” Stice added, alluding to recent flooding in that state.