Eighteen Chainsaw Certified L.E.R.T. Team Members Return to Walcamp to Clear Downed and Dead Trees
Last week, eighteen chainsaw certified L.E.R.T. team members returned to Walcamp with sawyers, draggers, and heavy equipment to clear downed and dead trees from walking paths and dangerously leaning trees from a home on the property.
Bill Indelli, Walcamp Executive Director, expressed his sincere thanks to each of the following for all of the work completed to prepare for day and overnight campers.
Immanuel, Dundee – Matt Flynn
Lord of Life, LaFox – Max Metz, Larry Zagorski
Prince of Peace, Palatine – Dan and Bobbie Swymdroski
St. John, Elgin – Bernie and Janet Zimdahl
St. John, Wheaton – Palmer Goodwin, Marty Johnson, Dave Mummah
St. John, Wilmette – Tom Morrison
St. Paul, Rockford – Dean Ulrich
St. Peter, Schaumburg – Missy Dieckmann, Ken and Vicki Kiviranta, Bob Royce
Trinity, Villa Park – Jim Long
It was an extremely hot and humid day, but very welcome after months of dreary weather and rain. All came with willing hands and hearts to serve and enjoy a time of fellowship.
L.E.R.T. Chainsaw Volunteers Help an Elder Homeowner Remove a Tree after Recent Storms
Last week, Lord of Life, LaFox, Illinois, L.E.R.T. chainsaw volunteers Larry Zagorski, and Kevin and Harry Krage, cut and removed a large tree that fell in recent storms from a church elder’s home. He was very grateful for their caring and professional assistance.
Lutheran Early Response Team (L.E.R.T.) Chainsaw Training and Service Event Workday at Walcamp in Kingston, Illinois
Lutheran Church Charities held a Lutheran Early Response Team (L.E.R.T.) Chainsaw Training and Service Event Workday at Walcamp in Kingston, Illinois, on April 29-30. On Friday evening, the Basic LCMS Chainsaw class was co-led by LCC/LCMS Chainsaw Certified Instructors Marty Johnson and Pete Springmire.
On Saturday, twenty-six basic and advanced chainsaw certified LCC staff and L.E.R.T. team members worked as chainsaw and heavy equipment operators and draggers to clear downed and dead trees, limbs, and brush along the camp roads. Bill Indelli, Walcamp Executive Director expressed his sincere thanks for all of the work completed to prepare for campers.
The ten first-time chainsaw operators received individual instruction and guidance from advanced team leaders as they began to safely practice felling and cutting trees and limbs, as well as serving with chainsaw team members.
A new chainsaw operator stated, “I never thought I would learn so much about chainsaws and safe operation - and have so much fun with a group of people I had never known before. I definitely want to serve in this way.”
These L.E.R.T. team volunteers came from the following Illinois and Wisconsin churches:
Good Shepherd, Frankfort – Joel Powless
Immanuel, Belvidere – Karyn Salgado
Immanuel, DeKalb – Pete Springmire
Immanuel, Dundee – Michael Brocato, Matt Flynn, Terry and Denise Fuelling, Doug and Kelley Hoyt
Immanuel, Palatine – Chris Johnson
Lord of Life, Elburn – Kevin Krage, Max Metz, Vince Miller, Larry Zagorski
Our Savior, Chicago – James Hampe
St. Paul, Rockford – Dean and Carol Ulrich
St. Peter, Rockford – Ken Kiviranta
St. John, Wheaton – Steve Chester, Byron Heidorn, Marty Johnson, Jeff Johnston, Anna Piro
Trinity, Lisle – Ed Boerman
Zion, Beecher – Jan Schulz
St. Paul, Grafton – Mark and Beverly Brueggemann
One of the participants sent the following note of thanks after the training:
“Thank you all for a great time spent with the group at Walcamp. As always, the presentation on Friday was done so well and Saturday's work was very beneficial for the new people. We enjoy the company of such dedicated people and always come away uplifted.”
The LCC Disaster Response Ministry never charges those we serve. Please donate to the LCC Disaster Response Fund so that, when invited, we may continue to show the Mercy, Compassion, Presence and Proclamation of Jesus Christ to those suffering and in need.
Lutheran Early Response Team (L.E.R.T.) members Jim Beckley (Prince of Peace - Palatine, Illinois) and Bob Pautsch (Trinity - Roselle, Illinois), were asked if they could help a Carpentersville (Illinois) Habitat for Humanity family by clearing a dead oak tree that had fallen onto the roof.
Prior to L.E.R.T.'s arrival, Habitat staff was able to remove the branches from the roof but were unable to remove the tree trunk. Jim, Bob, and Habitat volunteer staff removed what remained of the tree trunk and hauled the pieces up a long steep hill to Jim's trailer and Bob's van to be removed from the site. The homeowner was very appreciative of the assistance.
On Saturday, April 23, Steve Black gave a L.E.R.T. presentation at the Lutheran Women's Missionary League (LWML) Aurora Zone Spring Rally at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Dillsboro, Indiana.
Steve is a member of St. John’s and an active L.E.R.T. chainsaw operator that deploys with Lutheran Church Charities Disaster Response.
He spoke to eighteen women about what L.E.R.T. is and how volunteers serve those affected by a disaster and share the mercy, compassion, presence, and proclamation of Jesus Christ to those in need.
LCC Welcomes Ten New L.E.R.T. Certified Members
On Saturday, March 26, LCC held a Basic LCMS Lutheran Early Response Team (L.E.R.T.) training for new and recertifying team members at Immanuel Lutheran Church in East Dundee, Illinois, led by Deaconess Kathy O’Day, LCC Director of Disaster Response.
Lutheran Church Charities welcomes ten new L.E.R.T. certified members! There were a total of 15 in attendance from the following teams or churches in Illinois:
Immanuel, East Dundee
It is good to see how the disaster response ministry is continuing to grow with volunteers willing to share the mercy, compassion, presence and proclamation of Jesus Christ in service to those suffering and in need.
L.E.R.T. Chainsaw Volunteers Remove a Storm-Damaged Tree from an Elderly Congregation Member’s Home
On Wednesday, March 2, Kathy O'Day, LCC Director of Disaster Response, attended the 10th Anniversary Commemoration of the deadly and destructive Henryville, Indiana, EF-4 tornado.
Kathy had been the case manager supervisor from March 2013 to April 2014 for the extensive community rebuilding process with the long-term recovery group March2Recovery.
It was good to see how the towns have rebuilt homes and businesses, to visit with some of the families who received help and to join with staff served with at that time. It was a blessing to serve those in need and reconnect after many years.
ON-GOING FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE NEEDED TO HELP FAMILIES
The week after Christmas, Kathy O’Day, LCC Director of Disaster Response, Jamie Miller, LCC Staff, and the second LCC Disaster Response team arrived at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Paducah, Kentucky, to work in surrounding tornado affected towns. They will be returning with a third team this week to continue to assess damages and serve in hard-hit communities.
Last week, the LCC Lutheran Early Response Teams (L.E.R.T.) volunteers again worked in Gilbertsville, Kentucky. This community was in the direct path of the EF-3 & EF-4, 270-mile long tornado which at times was 1-1/2 miles wide. The damage is devastating with many of the homes completely leveled or severely damaged. There are many uprooted trees everywhere, landing on property, homes, and cars. The tornado was so fierce that some trees literally pierced through homes.
The LCC L.E.R.T. team completed chainsaw work at another eight homes this week. We were able to show the mercy and presence of Jesus Christ and that people could be trusted to do what we said we would with no cost. Several of these sites were large two-day projects.
Each of the homeowners was thankful that the following LCC Disaster Response team volunteers had come from so far to help them in their time of need:
Good Shepherd, Frankfort – Joel and Lori Posless
Immanuel, Dundee – Matt Flynn
Lord of Life, LaFox – Nicole Karabetsos, Jeff Straughn
Messiah, Sterling – Jacob Beets
St. John, Wheaton – Marty Johnson, Anna Piro
Trinity, Davenport – Ken Stotmeister
Building Trust and Giving Hope to Homeowner
Mr. Stan and his family lost their home during the tornado and are now living in his damaged business. He had multiple trees down all around his business and on his attached land housing cattle and pigs. Shortly after the tornado, his business was broken into, so he had been very reluctant to ask for any assistance or trust that someone would not steal what he had left. He watched us work at other homes around him before he approached us to ask for help. Our team spent two days clearing trees from both properties, and he was very grateful.
Serving Faithful Homeowner with Property Recovery
Mr. H is a young man with a family who was in the process of building a home on his parent’s 55-acre ranch property. He is an excellent woodworker and has his own mill. The tornado destroyed his home, barns, tools, workshop, and vehicles. He and his father had 70 head of cattle and now have only 20 left. Mr. H. told us he is still regaining his strength after an extended hospitalization and rehab from COVID-19.
He is overwhelmed and sometimes emotional about the many losses he, his family, and friends have now experienced, but he has a strong faith that God is with him. He was very appreciative to have fellow brothers and sisters in Christ come to his help. He knows that with the number of trees down, it will take months to clear his land and put fencing back up so they can return to raising cattle and other animals as they did before. As Mr. H stated, “any assistance the teams can give will get him further down the road to recovery.”
The LCC Disaster Response Ministry never charges those we serve. Please donate to the LCC Disaster Response General Fund or LCC Equipment Maintenance & Fuel Expense Fund so that we may continue to show the Mercy, Compassion, Presence and Proclamation of Jesus Christ to those suffering and in need.
Please keep the church and the families affected by the tornadoes in your prayers, including all of the LCC Disaster Response volunteers and staff as we deploy to the hardest-hit areas of Kentucky to help during the long recovery process.
L.E.R.T. MERCY IN ACTION
On Monday, January 3, LCC held a Basic LCMS L.E.R.T. Training for new members at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Paducah, Kentucky, led by Deaconess Kathy O’Day, LCC Director of Disaster Response. This is the church that L.E.R.T. teams from around the country are working out of to serve those affected by the multiple tornadoes in Kentucky in December.
The 13 new L.E.R.T. volunteers are from the following churches:
St. John, Lexington
St. Paul, Paducah
Shepherd of the Hills, Crossville
It is good to see how the disaster response ministry is continuing to grow with volunteers willing to share the mercy, compassion, presence, and proclamation of Jesus Christ in service to those suffering and in need.
St. John, Wheaton, L.E.R.T. Team Serves During Christmas Sharing Event for Families in Need
Christmas Sharing is a 52-year partnership of nine churches in Wheaton and Warrenville, Illinois, and the D200 school district. The schools' social workers identified 800 families that needed assistance, and they were invited to participate in the Christmas Sharing program this year. Usually, the families go shopping for shoes, boots, clothing, household items, toys, and food at the churches on the second Saturday of December.
Because of continuing COVID-19 restrictions, the program was a drive-thru event of gift cards, diapers, and food. St. John Lutheran, Gary Methodist, and Trinity Episcopal churches in Wheaton were partners at the St. John property as one of the three distribution sites.
Ninety volunteers served nearly 300 families directing traffic flow, registering families, loading boxes into vehicles, distributing gift cards, and offering prayers. Due to the high winds, the St. John Lutheran Early Response Team (L.E.R.T.) trailer served as the registration "office."
Despite the wind, the team felt it was a great day to show the mercy, compassion, presence, and proclamation of Jesus Christ as they joyfully served families in need.