contributed by Ida Rose, Perryville UMC
The Perryville United Methodist Church Early Response Team has been working very hard this summer as neighbors helping neighbors due to tornadoes and flooding. Byron and Janice Mann, Arkansas Conference Disaster Response Coordinators, have deployed our volunteer team to sites all over the state.
We began, along with other local volunteers, assessing damages from a destructive tornado in Bergman, Arkansas, near Harrison.
In May, we received an urgent call to help move a lady and her family from the flooded banks of the Arkansas River at Toad Suck near Conway. Our team, along with another team of volunteers from the Greenbrier United Methodist Church, moved her personal belongings from her house to another house near Conway Lake.
A group of volunteers gathered at Mayflower, loaded trailers and trucks with UMCOR cleaning buckets out of a 18-wheeler from Sager Brown, and transported them to the Fort Smith area. The Perryville UMC Team did more than 100 assessments in Perry County on flooded homes in the middle of June. Volunteers from Adona UMC and Perryville UMC also worked on building a wheelchair ramp and enlarging doors for the wheelchair in the home. Volunteers cleaned out and unloaded building supplies from a storage pod in Mayflower and put them in a storage unit in Conway. More flood assessments were made in Perry County and helped load cleaning buckets to be delivered in Pine Bluff.
In July, members from Batesville UMC and members from Perryville UMC spent several weeks at a house on River Bend Road, Perry County, mucking out the house. After it dried, we insulated the walls, then hung sheetrock.
In August, members from Batesville UMC, Harrison UMC and Perryville UMC traveled to Wright, Arkansas, 30 miles from Pine Bluff, completely mucking out a house that had 4 feet of water in it and the homeowners lost most of their personal belongings.
After mucking out was completed, we repaired and braced up the floor joists, replaced new sub-flooring, and installed insulation and sheetrock. Lakeside UMC of Pine Bluff provided great hospitality with a place to stay overnight and showers. One evening, they invited us to join them for dinner in their Fellowship Hall.
We continued to work at Wright until we finished all the work we were required to do. The next day, we were sent to Lavaca, near Fort Smith, to muck out a flooded home. Because we had additional volunteers from the Adona United Methodist Church to help on the house, we finished all the mucking out in the afternoon. We were also blessed with a nice lunch provided by the ladies from the First Baptist Church of Lavaca.
We want to thank everyone who volunteered on all these houses. Every home owner couldn’t thank us enough for our kindness and willingness to help them. We always feel like we are the ones that are blessed because we love to help people and love to give back wherever we are needed.