Oklahoma Volunteers Stay In Flood-Stricken New Jersey Through Second Storm


Thursday, November 8th 2012, 4:56 pm
By: Craig Day


Volunteers from Oklahoma kept working through the second round of terrible weather that hit New Jersey this week.

Members of Oklahoma's Southern Baptist Disaster Relief Organization are in Middleton, New Jersey, helping storm victims.

That's just outside New York City, across Staten Island.

I talked on the phone and Skyped with several Oklahomans there now lending a hand.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie came to thank the volunteers from Oklahoma with the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief organization.

11/7/2012 Related Story: Oklahomans Continue To Help More Than Week Since Sandy Landfall

"When disaster comes, somebody has to step up and help and they're saying we're willing to do that," said Sam Porter, Oklahoma's Director of Southern Baptist Relief.

Porter talked about the important mission facing the volunteers—a job made more difficult with a second storm, dropping snow.

"Our guys worked all the way through the storm yesterday and it started snowing just about sundown," Porter said.

One hundred Oklahoma volunteers are helping in areas hard hit by Superstorm Sandy, and they're now dealing with new snow and more power outages.

"It just breaks your heart, when you drive down the street, especially in the flooded areas, you see everything they have sitting out on the curb, ruined, waiting to be picked up and put in the trash," said Oklahoma volunteer Ted Wilson.

20/31/2012 Related Story: Disaster Relief Chainsaw Team Prepares To Go East To Help Storm Victims

Oklahoma has three chainsaw teams, a flood recovery team, and volunteers cooking thousands of meals each day.

They say New Jersey storm victims are very thankful for the help.

"What we keep hearing over and over is how surprised they are we came this far to help them out," said volunteer Danny Cotner. "One man said, ‘We don't even help our neighbors.' It's surprising to them."

With more than 50 tornados a year on average in Oklahoma, and with recent wildfires, Porter says teams from the Sooner State are well prepared to help others.

"We understand. We understand the grief and the loss, and it's really impacting. We deal with storms and destruction more than the people up here in the northeastern United States," Porter said.

"We love them and God loves them and that's why we're here," said Wilson.

When the current teams from Oklahoma leave New Jersey, they'll be replaced with more flood recovery teams.