A Big Helping Hand From The Baptists

Wednesday, January 16th 2008, 5:40 pm
By: News On 6

A massive relief effort to help ice storm victims is beginning to wind down. The Southern Baptist Disaster Relief Teams have stopped taking any additional work orders, and the out of state teams will leave Oklahoma this weekend. News On 6 anchor Craig Day reports those volunteers have had a tremendous impact on Oklahoma.

Right after the ice storm, Baptist Disaster Relief Teams arrived in Oklahoma to lend a helping hand. A team from eastern Tennessee helped Charlie Hickman of Collinsville.

"When these broke, it was just like rifle shots except magnified. It was extremely loud," said Charlie Hickman of Collinsville.

Limbs from Hickman's giant oak tree and other trees on her property were an overwhelming task without help. She's grateful for the help she received.

"It's unbelievable. It just restores your faith in human beings," said Charlie Hickman of Collinsville.

There were 18 different disaster relief teams from the organization that went to work across Eastern Oklahoma.

"Helping people is a feeling that is hard to describe. We do that to glorify our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. And, not ourselves," said Rich Haworth of Southern Baptist Disaster Relief.

The volunteer teams had more than 2,100 work orders stretching from Tulsa to Miami.

With the out of state disaster relief teams leaving soon, storm victims who have asked for help with debris removal, may be wondering if they'll still be able to get assistance. Baptist Disaster Relief Teams say they are still committed to getting to critical jobs.

That would include limbs on cars or houses and help for the elderly or disabled. The remaining jobs on their list will be assigned to area churches to finish.

"We'll be incorporating the youth in our church to come out and drag limbs from spot to spot and help out the chainsaw people," said Rich Haworth of Southern Baptist Disaster Relief.

The crews will leave Oklahoma with a sense of satisfaction in a job well done. And, they'll go with the deep appreciation of those they've touched.

"If there is ever such a thing as a good disaster, this has been one. Seeing people helping people," said Rich Haworth of Southern Baptist Disaster Relief.

Baptist Disaster Relief Teams from Tennessee, Kentucky, Louisiana, and Texas came to help after the ice storm. Altogether, they put in more than 3,000 volunteer days.