Arkansas Flood Stories

One family that sought the assistance of Adventist Community Services in the aftermath of the devastating floods were David and Wendy Kratz, who lived in the town of Pocahontas. They came to our local Distribution Center and expressed gratitude for all the help we could provide. David told the DR team his story of how he and his wife were addicted to Meth about ten years ago, but have fully recovered and are now raising their3-year-old daughter. Through this crisis, they were able to get in contact with the Seventh-day Adventist by meeting a group of people who he stated "live out their religion." His wife added that the support was very much appreciated and they never realized how great the Adventist people were until now.  David invited the ACS volunteers who were assisting in the area to visit on Labor Day as they grilled in his backyard. His kindness was greatly appreciated!

Another resident of the local community rushed up to some of the team members with a couple of Bibles in her hand. She explained that they had enough for each person in the house and she knew many would be stopping by our location, and perhaps we’d be willing to allow them to take one with them. As she was leaving, she asked if she could post our location to her Facebook and twitter page so others affected by the floods could stop by and receive the needed items. 

The Bayfills also truly appreciated the services ACS DR was providing. Gary and Shella Bayfill, whose home was flooded by the devastating floods, left the house within hours of being evacuated. This family had nowhere to go and only had what they could fit into their vehicle. Both were recently baptized into the Pocahontas SDA Church. Calls went out from the local ACS team to support this local community with tangible resources, which included the Bayfills. When the team heard the family didn’t have anywhere to stay, the doors of the church were opened and the church basement was turned into a shelter. Shella could not stop expressing how blessed she was by the local SDA Church.  She stated “no one knows what we go through when you experience something like this.”  She went on to say how extremely grateful she was that the church stepped up, and believes that Jesus is strengthening her through them.

Arkansas Floods

The State of Arkansas has been heavily impacted by the recent Missouri floods. The waters from Missouri have flowed into Arkansas, resulting in substantial flooding. For days the rain continued filling the Black River, causing levees in several communities to overflow and break. The effects of these events had devastating consequences on the towns of Georgetown, Pocahontas, DesArc, and Bescoe. The Arkansas/Louisiana ACS DR Coordinator, Lavida Whitson, is leading out a team in the operation of small Warehouses that are currently distributing needed items to the local communities. 

ACS is partnering with various faith-based organizations such as the Red Cross, LDS, and others that had donated goods to us for previous disasters sitting at a Warehouse ready for use. The International Paper Company donated 1000 boxes to be used for distribution. Payron Elementary, a local public school in Clarksville, also set up a collection center for bleach. By the end of their call they had secured about 200 bottles of bleach which were distributed, along with food and other household supplies.

On Memorial Day, there were approximately 15 volunteers who took their holiday to serve their community. They not only distributed supplies, but also spoke with many survivors that were uncertain about how they would manage through the next day. ACS DR provided some resources, and in areas where we couldn’t help we tried to connect them with other organizations that might offer the assistance needed. "The one thing you quickly realize when working on a Disaster is how many it takes to truly have an impact on a community affected by Disaster. It’s encouraging to see we have such competent, dedicated people working in every community within the Division," said W. Derrick Lea, NAD ACS DR Director.

 

Wisconsin Tornado Update

Reports indicate that the tornado which hit the Cameron/Chetek area was rated a F2, meaning they sustained winds going up to 122-150 mph. There were 38 homes destroyed and around 20 damaged. East of Clear Lake, nearly 30 miles West from the epicenter of the storm, was severely affected. One homeowner had a lot of tin strewn in his pasture and on his fields. Another one had a large metal shed which had its roof blown off, leaving all the tin in the woods about 1/4 mile hanging from the trees. The raging storm brought down trees as well. A clean up crew was organized to assist in this area.

This past weekend, volunteers gathered in the Cameron/Chetek area to help out on the fields by picking up debris left from the storm. Even though there was steady rain on Saturday, over 700 volunteers responded to the call. On Sunday, some volunteers provided help to a church member and her son who were impacted by the storm significantly. They witnessed several downed trees and so much brush, along with a broken down fence in the horse pasture. They did a lot of chainsawing and piled up tree limbs which were hauled away by a tractor.  

There were other volunteers that assisted at the Multi Agency Resource Center by supplying food and water to the affected community. Some of the donations that were set up for the survivors were used to get the items they needed. In addition to providing for the survivors, they also helped supply meals to the volunteers working on the scene, along with Salvation Army. The volunteers also offered emotional support to the survivors by hugging them and listening to them. 

"I want to thank our certified chain saw operators for responding to the need and working very well taking the job at hand very seriously. Your work is very much appreciated. I especially want to thank our local ACS leaders. You have done an outstanding job and with out you we would not have accomplished what we did," said Alice Garrett, ACS Wisconsin Director.

Volunteers Needed in Airway Heights

The Greater Spokane Emergency Management is looking for volunteers to assist with distributing drinking water to residents in Airway Heights, Washington State from May 17 - 20. Leonard Westermeyer from Upper Columbia ACS will be heading up this distribution of water for Spokane County. Several wells have been contaminated by flood waters in the past few weeks. The floods carried foam used to fight fires from the military base into the water supply. 

Where: 12825 W Sunset Hwy, Airway Heights, WA 99001 (Behind the Yoke’s Grocery Store)

When: Between the hours of
--- 7:00 am -11:00 am
--- 11:00 am – 3:00 pm
--- 3:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Duration: 4-6 volunteers are needed per hour.

Report to: Leonard Westermeyer 509.941.6125 for instructions.

Scheduling contact: Cindy Thompson, Chair of COAD (Community Organizations Active in Disaster).
- Please call Cindy at 509-280-3057 in advance in order to ensure they have adequate volunteer coverage.
- Notify them if you have access to any other volunteer groups that could assist.

Check out a video here on ACS involvement in supplying clean water to the affected community.

 

Tornado Hits Wisconsin

A tornado hit the State of Wisconsin on late Tuesday afternoon, May 16. The tornado swept through the Cameron/Chetek area destroying a mobile home park and also a nearby turkey farm. The disaster left 25 injured and one fatality; and several mobile homes completely wiped out. Currently, the first responders are doing what needs to be done. There are reports of several tornado touchdowns around the affected area, so there may be other regions also that will need assistance with the Recovery efforts. Wisconsin ACS Director, Alice Garrett, will be in contact with local authorities and WI VOAD to assess the needs of the communities. Please let us remember all those who have been affected by this tornado and also other disasters in the past few weeks.