LCC Disaster Response LERT Chainsaw Volunteers Complete Deployment in Olive Branch, Mississippi Helping Families Recover from Extensive Tornado Damage
Lutheran Church Charities (LCC) Lutheran Early Response Team (L.E.R.T.) chainsaw teams were invited by Angela Fowler, Congregation President from Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church in Olive Branch, Mississippi, to assist with tornado recovery in their community.
On January 10, the towns of Olive Branch, Hernando, and Lewisburg in DeSoto County experienced two tornadoes in the early morning hours. The first of two reported tornadoes was rated an EF-1 storm by the National Weather Service with an estimated wind peak of 100 miles per hour, was 200 yards wide, and traveled 11.3 miles. The second tornado was rated an EF-2 storm with an estimated peak wind gust of 120 miles per hour, was 300 yards wide and traveled 8.25 miles.
LCC Director of Disaster Response, Kathy O’Day and twenty-seven L.E.R.T. chainsaw certified team members completed their deployment this past week, serving 14 families affected by tornadoes in Olive Branch and Hernando, Mississippi. They worked through Beautiful Savior in partnership with Eight Days of Hope – Rapid Response.
These L.E.R.T. team members spent six days cutting and removing many fallen and damaged trees that completely covered the yards of many homeowners, as well as removing dangerous leaning and dangling limbs.
The LCC L.E.R.T. team served three homeowners representing four generations of a family. Their large properties had multiple trees down and dangerously hanging trees.
Grandma had tears of joy and praise for the work completed and presentation of the cross and quilt to her from the team. She sent a text message to the team leader the next day, “We are so thankful for you helping us. Y’all are awesome! The boys and I just prayed for your team’s safety and safe travels home. Thanks again!”
The LCC L.E.R.T. team served 78-year-old Mr. Smith whose parents had built the home he currently lives in. He is the caretaker of his older brother who needs regular trips to the VA. The chainsaw team cut approximately 100 fallen or damaged trees on his property. While they weren’t able to move it all to the street, they made significant progress. Mr. Smith was very pleased as he never thought it would be able to been done at all.
Another homeowner, Larry, knew God was watching over him as he took shelter in his closet during the tornado. He had no idea how he was going to clean up any of the extensive damage to his property. He was thankful for the LCC L.E.R.T. team assistance over the two days it took to clear the destruction the tornado had left behind. Everyone enjoyed taking the time to talk and pray with Larry. He loved the cross we made for him out of one of his many damaged pine trees that he had planted with his dad when he was 7 years old.
This is why L.E.R.T. teams serve those in need after a storm - to bring the mercy, compassion, presence and proclamation of Jesus Christ to those suffering and in need!
During this deployment, our LCC volunteer L.E.R.T. teams took heavy equipment, such as the 50’ boom lift, dump trailer, two Bobcats and a tractor with grapple. These were used extensively during the week to move heavy trees, and cut dangerous trees and limbs from roofs. Due to our heavy usage, we have some equipment that now needs repairs in order to be able to send it back out when needed. The cost of repairing a cracked windshield and seal on the Bobcat, replacing a gasket and couplings of broken grapples, and covering gas expenses for volunteers who are donating the use of equipment and their time totals $2,675.00.
Please consider a donation to the LCC Disaster Response 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.
LCC never goes where we are not invited. We NEVER charge those we serve. We pick up all of our travel, lodging, and meal costs. We put boots on the ground within 24 hours (often fewer) from the time we get the invite.