Paying it forward
by Jennifer Cohron
Jan 24, 2012 | 2247 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Andrea Pate stocks water in one of the coolers going to Center Point. Volunteers from Cordova will be making several trips to tornado-stricken areas in the coming weeks. - Photo by: Jennifer Cohron
Andrea Pate stocks water in one of the coolers going to Center Point. Volunteers from Cordova will be making several trips to tornado-stricken areas in the coming weeks. - Photo by: Jennifer Cohron
slideshow
Cordova’s Freewill Baptist Church had grown quiet lately after serving thousands of victims and volunteers in the months after April 27.

When tragedy struck close to Walker County on Monday morning, Andrea Pate knew what to do with the leftover supplies at the disaster relief center.

“Once you’ve been through this and you’ve seen the kindness and love of your neighbors and people from so many states, how can you not be ready to go help someone else?” Pate said.

Pate and her husband, Jeremy, left Cordova Monday afternoon with a trailer packed with bottled water, blankets, first aid kits, shovels, snacks, hygiene products and other items for tornado victims in Center Point.

Some of the supplies came from the church, and others were dropped off by local residents after Pate posted about the new relief effort on Facebook.

Volunteers from Cordova will be making multiple trips to the hardest-hit areas in the weeks and months to come.

“We have furniture and all sorts of things in storage that we can get to these families when it’s time,” Pate said.

Pate’s contact in Center Point is Phillip Daniel, whose Walker County Outreach crew assisted with the church’s Flipping for Families program for tornado survivors last summer.

Daniel and a crew of 20 men from Walker County Outreach spent all day Monday helping with cleanup efforts in Jefferson County. The group started in West Jefferson around 5 a.m. before moving on to Center Point and Trussville. He said they did everything from helping to clear roads to removing trees from homes.

“As soon as the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office let us through, we were out there trying to do whatever we could to help,” Daniel said.

Daniel said the men of Walker County Outreach decided to help while watching television coverage of the tornado moving across the state.

“The men in our facility are here and they are battling their own storms,” he said. “Helping these folks get through this storm is a way for them to continue to work through what they are going through.”

Daniel said the damage in the area was comparable to damage left behind in Walker County by April’s tornadoes.

“This damage isn’t as condensed,” he said. “It is much more widespread, but it is just as bad as we saw last year. There is a shopping center here in Center Point that was damaged to the point that it looks like it’s just now under construction.”

Missions Unlimited, a Jasper-based disaster relief organization, was also helping in tornado-damaged areas of Jefferson County Monday. Charles Harper, the group’s operations manager, said he spent much of the day in Oak Grove.

“We’ve brought out a lot of supplies,” he said. “There is a lot of damage out here, and we want to do what we can to help.”