In addition to utility crews, there are also volunteers from all over the country helping us recover from the ice storm. Their hard work is being welcomed here with open arms, especially as we get closer to Christmas. News On 6 anchor Craig Day caught up with a team from Tennessee as they were working near Skiatook.
Back home in western Tennessee, the wives and children of men working here in Oklahoma are wrapping up the last minute Christmas shopping and putting out the rest of the decorations. The men are 500 miles away from home, helping out as members of the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief Team.
"Just like everybody else, their family supports them 100% and they know this is where we need to be, to help this area have a good Christmas, too," said Tennessee volunteer Larry Sanderson.
The team of about 30 volunteers arrived from Tennessee to the Skiatook area Sunday evening. Their first goal is to give people hope. Rick Taylor knows how important hope is. He was a tornado victim in 2003.
"Everything I had was damaged. My trucks. My business. My home. And, I didn't even know where to start," said Rick Taylor, a volunteer from Tennessee.
Volunteers helped him then, like Taylor is helping now. This is the eighth disaster the group has responded to just this year.
"Once you start doing it, it just blesses you as much as the people you're helping," said volunteer Larry Sanderson.
"We like to be able to have the opportunity to share our faith, but most of all we come to show God's love," added volunteer Rick Taylor.
This helping hand from the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief Teams is even more special. The owner of this house just lost her husband to a massive heart attack about a week and a half ago. Tuesday would have been their 31st wedding anniversary. With her grief, all this damage, and losing power, it was overwhelming. She says she's now overwhelmed by their kindness and willingness to help a complete stranger in need.
"We thank the Lord that he gave us the opportunity to serve her and this community," responded volunteer Rick Taylor.
They'll keep serving for about a week and they should make it back home just two days before Christmas. But, they'll leave behind the gift of compassion and goodwill. The volunteers from Tennessee are staying at the First Baptist Church in Skiatook. There are other Southern Baptist Relief Teams from 13 states scattered across Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri.