LCC Disaster Response Chainsaw Teams Bring Hope to Homeowners in Alabama During Tornado Recovery Assistance
On Thursday, March 25, the National Weather Service reported eleven tornadoes with EF ratings ranging from EF-1 to EF- 4, ripped through Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia, causing seven deaths, multiple injuries, and widespread structural and tree damage.
Over the past two weeks, Kathy O'Day, LCC Director of Disaster Response responded with Pastor Ed Brashier, Southern District Disaster Response Coordinator, and the following team of thirty-one Lutheran Early Response Team (L.E.R.T.) draggers, and chainsaw and heavy equipment operators from Alabama, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, and Wisconsin.
Good Shepherd – Frankfort: Joel Powless
Heartland – Normal: Tony Buchberger
Immanuel – Belvidere: Mike Buhl, Mark Gutzler, Wes Johnson, Carl Jurgens, Mike Perry
Immanuel – DeKalb: Pete and Christel Springmire
Lord of Life – LaFox: Chris Lewis, Jeff Straughn, Larry Zagorski
Messiah – Sterling: Jacob Beets
Prince of Peace – Palatine: Jim Beckley, Dan and Bobbie Swyndroski
Shepherd of the Hills – McHenry: Alan Holm
St. John – Wheaton: Marty Johnson, Anna Piro, David Schlesselman, Rich Wren
St. John – Wilmette: Tom Morrison
St. Paul – Matteson: Dennis Pieper
Trinity – Lisle: Ed Boerman
Alabama, Indiana, Kansas, Wisconsin
First Lutheran – Paola, Kansas: Brian Mead
Good Shepherd – Gardendale, Alabama: Gary Decker, Rich Dender, Rusty Spiegle
St. John – Dillsboro, Indiana: Ruth Weisbrod
St. Paul – Grafton, Wisconsin: Mark and Beverly Brueggeman
Lutheran Church Charities Disaster Response L.E.R.T. teams completed chainsaw work at seventeen homeowner sites while serving through Trinity Lutheran Church in Gadsen, Alabama, in Ohatchee Wellington, Jacksonville, and Piedmont. Almost all of these sites took 2-4 days to complete due to the size of the property and trees, amount of destruction, and complexity of work completed.
Blessing an Army Veteran
One of the homeowners was a 20 year Army veteran who sheltered in his home with his mom and daughter who were visiting as the tornado destroyed all of their vehicles, workshop, shed, and took down hundreds of trees on his 10 acres of rural property. He was very grateful for the help in clearing trees with all of the heavy equipment and chainsaw operators to access his road and property fully. He worked alongside the team and told us what a blessing we were to him.
Donny and his family all lived in separate homes on the same property. Two of their homes lost their roofs, and one of the homes was destroyed when two large oak trees landed on it. We were able to remove the oak trees to access the home and salvage what they could. They couldn’t believe that we would offer to help them and return for three days to complete the work. They stated that they felt we restored their faith and hope for their future as they move forward in recovering from this disaster.
Joel Powless, one of the LCC L.E.R.T. chainsaw team leaders, cuts beautiful crosses in the homeowner’s tree stump to remind them that Christ is present in the midst of this disaster and recovery. Joel states that when he is cutting the cross, his arms will begin to burn as it is difficult and heavy to hold the chainsaw high and cut against the grain of the tree to make the cross. He is reminded that Christ’s arms were hurting as He hung on the cross for our sins – and that thought carries him through as he completes the cross for the homeowners who appreciate the significance the cross represents.
LCC Thank You
Lutheran Church Charities extends sincere thanks to John Strid, Regional President of Brasfield & Gorrie General Contractors, for delivering and loaning us a compact track loader after our bobcat broke down to use for the week at no cost. Without this, we would not have been able to complete all of the work on the sites we had scheduled.
We also extend a heartfelt thanks to John and Kathy Henner from Bakers Buddy in DeKalb, Illinois, for the generous donation of food items, bread, and desserts for our cooks to prepare and serve our volunteers for the week. It was very much appreciated and enjoyed by all.
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.