Disaster Relief Chainsaw Team Prepares To Go East To Help Storm Victims

Wednesday, October 31st 2012, 7:38 pm
By: Craig Day

Oklahomans from several communities are getting ready to help victims of Superstorm Sandy.

Members of the Baptist Disaster Relief teams are on standby to help with relief efforts.

While victims of Sandy get a closer look at the devastation, thousands of miles away in Claremore, relief workers are preparing to hit the road to lend a helping hand.

"[It's] an opportunity for us to go to minister to their needs and help them, but our hearts are broken for what they're going through," said Danny Cotner.

Cotner, a volunteer with the Rogers Chapter of the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief organization, will take a rapid response chainsaw team to help with cleanup.

"We're able to do just a little bit to help them, and what we do doesn't seem like much - just cutting some trees - but it means so much to them to have that help," Cotner said.

The team has had plenty of experience recently, helping after tornados in Joplin and Alabama and in the aftermath of the Creek County wildfires.

8/11/2012 Related Story: Disaster Relief Group Restores Faith For Creek County Fire Victim

First Baptist Church Pastor Randy Swift is also part of the team.

"Really, it's to come alongside them, and love on them and care for them and let them know there really are folks who care about what they're going through," Swift said.

Chainsaw teams from Bartlesville and the Drumright/Cushing area will also respond.

Disaster relief teams in closer proximity to the damage are just now getting a chance to begin their work. The groups from Oklahoma will make up a second wave of volunteers.

It will likely be another week before the Oklahomans leave, but they have to be ready at a moment's notice.

"We're ready on a 24-hour notice to go," Cotner said.

The volunteers aren't sure where they'll be sent, but wherever it is, Swift said he's proud of how Oklahomans are willing to step up to make a difference.

"In Oklahoma, it's a part of who we are," Swift said.

When they do leave, the crews from Oklahoma will be gone from eight to 12 days.

10/30/2012 Related Story: Tulsa Area Red Cross Urges Blood Donations In Wake Of Storm