Volunteers swarm communities
    April 25 2011 by Dianna L. Cagle, BR Assistant Managing Editor

    Most North Carolinians were surprised by the storm system that moved across the state April 16. Blazing a trail in what meteorologists called a “squall line,” the National Weather Service had confirmed 28 tornadoes ripped neighborhoods and businesses apart, killing 24 people in the state.

    “You learn that there are a lot of people who want to help,” said Richard Brunson, executive director of North Carolina Baptist Men, “a lot of people with big hearts … a lot of people who want to do what they can to help their neighbors.”  

    As of April 25 Baptist Men was working in 13 locations in 12 counties: Bertie, Bladen, Craven, Cumberland, Green, Halifax, Johnson, Lee, Onslow, Person, Wake and Wilson.  

    SEBTS photo

    Cleanup continues around the state as North Carolina Baptist Men, Samaritan’s Purse and other volunteers spread out through their communities to serve. Above, a North Raleigh neighborhood was visited by one of the tornadoes that swarmed across North Carolina April 16. Students from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary volunteered during their spring break to help. Send your photos and stories from the storm to dianna@biblicalrecorder.org. See photo gallery.

    Thousands of volunteers have provided many services to their neighbors in need.  

    Samaritan’s Purse, a nondenominational evangelical Christian organization based in Boone, responded to the disaster by sending staff and equipment to three of the hardest hit areas.  

    More than 400 volunteers in Bertie, Cumberland, and Wake counties are ministering to the storm victims by cleaning up debris and making emergency repairs on houses.  

    As of April 21 Samaritan’s Purse had received 70 requests for help in a four-mile radius around Wake Cross Roads Baptist Church in Raleigh.  

    “I always thought if I did a little piece of work I should get paid,” said a youth volunteer from Highland Baptist Church in Raleigh.  

    “But this week I realized if the Lord can open the doors to heaven free then we can (show) love (for) others.”  

    Brunson said Baptist Men is in it for the long haul.  

    At this stage the work is winding down in some areas but the hardest hit like Wake, Cumberland and Lee counties, where the Baptist Men has created hubs of activity, will be in the emergency stage for at least a couple more weeks.  

    The emergency stage involves chainsaw teams, debris removal, covering holes with tarps, etc. The next stage would be repairing the damage like the hole in a roof.  

    Baptist Men and Samaritan’s Purse are working out of the same site in Colerain.  

    “Everybody is needed,” Brunson said.  

    On April 16, as soon as a tornado had come and gone, Baptist Men sent assessment personnel out to see what response would be needed.  

    “We need to be where the greatest need is,” Brunson said.  

    With tornadoes, Brunson said it was hard for people to know where to go and what to do.  

    “It’s just so quick,” he said.  

    To help visit www.baptistsonmission.org or donate to North Carolina Baptist Men, P.O. Box 1107, Cary, NC 27512. Call (800) 395-5102, ext. 5599, to volunteer.  

    Visit samaritanspurse.org.

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    4/25/2011 8:05:00 AM by Dianna L. Cagle, BR Assistant Managing Editor | with 0 comments

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