Wind Damage Compounds Challenges Faced by Southern Baptist Disaster Relief

A Southern Baptist Disaster Relief chainsaw crew with the Texas Baptist Men removes a downed tree from a home. Photo courtesy of Texas Baptist Men

Storms with strong straight-line winds have caused havoc in the Dallas-Fort Worth area over the last two weeks, underscoring the severe weather events that have been occurring across the country.

Just before Highland Terrace Baptist Church in Greenville, Texas, received a direct hit from a wind gust on Wednesday night (June 19), senior pastor Chet Haney and his staff sent an alert to the congregation that church activities were canceled for the evening.

“We were just about to go in there for our Wednesday night service,” Haney said. “The front quarter of the sanctuary was peeled off by the high wind. The whole altar area is basically exposed to the sunshine.

“Part of the roof that blew off landed on another part of our building and demolished some of our Sunday School space like a missile hit it.”

Haney estimated that the area would have been filled with students just 15 minutes later had they not closed the church. A local CBS affiliate reported that two teens showed up early and witnessed the roof collapsing.

“We specifically prayed for God to take authority over this storm and prevent loss of life, people getting hurt, and minimize the damage,” Haney said.

He reported that the storm missed an apartment complex and did not touch another residential area even though some of the hundred-year-old oak trees were “uprooted like weeds.”

“Two days ago, life was normal — whatever that is,” Haney said. “Now, we’re kind of in chaos, but God’s been moving and we’ve been seeing a lot of blessings in the midst of this.”

In Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas Baptist Men (TBM) have been providing help to residents dealing with storm damage.

“We are up to our eyeballs in chainsaw work right now,” said Dwain Carter, Southern Baptist Disaster Relief (SBDR) director for TBM. “We had, the last two Sundays in a row, pretty bad wind storms go through the city of Dallas. We’ve had about seven chainsaw teams working pretty much nonstop for the last two weeks.”

The winds that hit the area reached speeds of more than 100 mph, Carter said, and cut a 30-mile-long path of destruction.

As flooding and other storms have devastated other parts of the U.S., TBM has sent teams to assist in Arkansas and Oklahoma.

“We would be in bad trouble if it wasn’t for the amazing [Southern Baptist] volunteers that we have nationwide,” Carter said.

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Source: Baptist Press