Local disaster relief team headed to Staten Island
by Elane Jones
Dec 02, 2012 | 1892 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Photo by: Elane Jones
Roger O’Shields, a member of the Walker County Baptist Association Disaster Clean-up and Recovery Team, sharpened a chainsaw as members of the team were busy getting prepared Thursday morning to leave for Staten Island, N.Y. this weekend.
Photo by: Elane Jones Roger O’Shields, a member of the Walker County Baptist Association Disaster Clean-up and Recovery Team, sharpened a chainsaw as members of the team were busy getting prepared Thursday morning to leave for Staten Island, N.Y. this weekend.
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Volunteers with the Walker County Baptist Association Disaster Clean-up and Recovery Team left early Saturday morning for Staten Island, N.Y.. They will be aiding in the ongoing disaster relief being conducted in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.

“We got the call a couple of weeks ago and we’re headed up there to lend a helping hand,” said WCBA Disaster team member Sam Carroll. “We will be cutting up the trees that have fallen on people’s property and clearing away the debris.”

Other members of the team include Don Eaton; Shelia Eaton, the team’s administrator; Dray Williams, the team’s chaplain; and Roger O’Shields.

The team was scheduled to leave at 7 a.m. yesterday. Carroll said that besides their chainsaws and other debris removal equipment, the team will also be taking a four-wheeler, which was recently donated to assist them with removing debris from disaster victims’ property.

“We have a big tractor that we normally take with us, but parking is an issue on Staten Island right now because of all the debris. So we decided to take our new four-wheeler,” Carroll said. “Normally, once we cut up a tree, we had to drag the limbs and stuff to where it needed to go, which was tough. Now it’s so much easier. We just pile the stuff on a trailer, hook it to the four-wheeler and take off.”

Carroll said a pastor from another church in Providence donated the four-wheeler to the WCBA Disaster Clean-up and Recovery team.

“He said he couldn’t think of a better way for it to be put to use than helping disaster victims,” Carroll said.

Carroll added that the team couldn’t do what they do if it weren’t for people like the pastor who make contributions to the team.

“We do what we do for free so folks who have been affected by a disaster don’t have to hire someone who will likely charge them triple the going rate to do it,” Carroll said. “We rely on contributions to help pay expenses on these trips, such as gas and the upkeep on our equipment.”

The WCBA chainsaw team will be staying at the New Dorp Moravian Church on Staten Island for a week before returning home.

“We will be staying at the church and using it as our base while we’re in Staten Island,” Carroll said. “Feeding teams from Alabama are already there helping to feed the volunteers and the storm victims.”

The Alabama, Louisiana and Kentucky conventions sent the first Southern Baptist Disaster Relief teams to Staten Island following Superstorm Sandy, and Alabama and Louisiana continue working to assist as many of the families who still need help in that community.

Larry Teel, the state coordinator for the Alabama Baptist Rapid Response Assessment Team, stated in an earlier report that there is enough work on Staten Island to last a long, long time, and Alabama would probably run out of resources before they can take care of what needs to happen long-term.

Carroll said volunteers with several disaster relief teams from the Alabama Baptist Association are expected to travel to Staten Island through December 21.

“It’s unclear if we (the Walker County team) will be going back following the Christmas holidays. But it’ll mean good news if we don’t,” Carroll said.

“That’ll mean progress is being made in the clean-up effort, and we’re no longer needed. Besides, we’ll get the call to respond to another disaster sooner than we’d like, I’m pretty sure.”

If you would like to help, monetary contributions for the Walker County Baptist Association Disaster Clean-up and Recovery team can be mailed to the Walker Baptist Association, 212 N. Walston Bridge Road, Jasper, AL 35503.