LCC L.E.R.T. Chainsaw Teams Prepare to Deploy Immediately After Easter for Two Weeks
On Thursday, March 25, multiple catastrophic tornadoes ripped through Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia causing seven deaths, people trapped in their homes, multiple injuries, and widespread structural and tree damage. The National Service reported eleven tornadoes in three states with EF ratings ranging from EF-1 to EF-4, with some of the most severe hitting Alabama.
Early Friday morning, LCC Disaster Response received an invite from Rev. Ed Brashier, Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS) District Disaster Response Coordinator for the Southern District. Kathy O’Day, LCC Director of Disaster Response, LCC staff member Tim Laabs, and Lutheran Early Response Team (L.E.R.T.) chainsaw team leaders Marty Johnson and Pete Springmire arrived in Alabama on Palm Sunday, March 28, to spend the week helping Pastor Brashier assess widespread tornado damage to determine homeowner needs.
LCC Disaster Response staff and team leaders have been assessing damage in the hardest-hit areas of Calhoun, Shelby, and Bibb Counties to determine where L.E.R.T. chainsaw teams from across the country will be serving. One of the catastrophic EF-4 tornadoes that tore through Alabama was on the ground for 260 miles across three states. Another EF-3 tornado left 60 miles of major structural and tree damage through many rural towns that also resulted in five people losing their lives and many suffering life-changing injuries.
After completing initial assessments, LCC L.E.R.T. chainsaw teams will be deploying to the towns of Ohatchee, Wellington, Jacksonville, and Piedmont over the next two weeks to help affected homeowners clear properties of downed and damaged trees and debris. This will help them begin their long road of rebuilding and recovery.
Learning Tree: Home & School for Disabled Children and Adults
We met with Deborah Hulsey, Director of Learning Tree, to assess extensive damage to the school, big hall, and grounds. The Learning Tree is a home and school for children and adults with various disabilities serving 139 residents and students. They also operate 13 group homes. LCC L.E.R.T. chainsaw teams will help with grounds clean-up to make it safe again. The chainsaw teams will also go to one of the group homes to clean up many downed trees on that property. Finally, they will help a staff member as well as her brother’s house with extensive tree damage at both. According to Deborah, this has been a forgotten community, and she feels very blessed that we are committing to helping them in their time of need.
Family Hit Hard with Multiple Home and Property Damage
A family with two homes sharing a large piece of property is trying to clear the debris and about 40 downed and damaged trees while trying to salvage what they can from one of their homes that was badly damaged. They couldn’t believe that strangers from another state would volunteer to help them.
Family Displaced Due to Extensive Tornado Damage
This family has been placed in a hotel temporarily. During their long-term recovery, they are not sure where they will be living until they can rebuild their house and workshop on their property where he works. They were so thankful that we listened to their story of how life had been simply lived and how they are now so uncertain of what the future will hold. They are very grateful for any assistance we may be able to offer them to get the tree off their roof and help clear their property.
146 Year Old Church Building Destroyed - Members Faith Remains Strong
The Raglan Methodist Church building was built in 1875 and may have been destroyed by an EF-4 tornado last week, but not the spirit of the congregation. They plan to worship together on Easter morning amidst the devastation, to show that there is always hope because Christ is Risen!
LCC NEEDS YOUR ASSISTANCE TO HELP FAMILIES, HELP CHURCHES, AND PREPARE FOR DEPLOYMENT!
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 families affected by the tornadoes in your prayers, including all the LCC Disaster Response volunteers and staff as we deploy to Alabama.
LCC works in coordination with LCMS Disaster Response national and local districts of the LCMS.