Wildfire Disaster Volunteers to the Rescue
Rick Carpenter, the West District Disaster Response Co-Coordinator, recently led ERT teams in October and December to clean slabs of Bastrop area homes totally destroyed by fire.
Team #1: Participants were Mike Griffin (Cooks Point UMC), Glen Grant, Lorrie Bell, Rick Carpenter (all from First UMC, Huntsville), and Billy Irwin (University Heights Baptist Church, Huntsville).
At one of the locations Rick Carpenter says, “I believe we were the first teams to arrive at this house. The homeowner had attempted to sift through some of the ashes looking for his wife’s jewelry, and some of us continued tried to help with little success.” Teams moved most of the metal and ashes to the curb for removal. Rick adds, “There is much more work to be done in the area.
December team members included Jere & Margaret Kessler, Glen Grant, David Gingles, and Rick Carpenter, all of First UMC, Huntsville; and Glen Dutton of Faith UMC, Orange.
They cleared a burned fence line and assisted where a house was being rebuilt. After building two cement wheelchair ramps, the afternoon turned into a temporary wheelbarrow fiasco. “You can’t imagine the piles of ash as far as you can see in that area,” adds Carpenter.
For those who would like to serve, Rick is forming another Bastrop team to return in Jan/Feb of 2012. They have also begun tentative planes for a week-long work trip in June. He can be reached at 936-662-7119 or email@example.com.
At this time, Bastrop is open to both non-ERT volunteers, as well as certified Early Responders. Please visit their web site with all inquiries: http://bastroprelief.org/volunteer.
Rev. Clay Whitaker, Texas Annual Conference Disaster Consultant said, “Our TACCOR group has excellent participation from top-notch folks, both clergy and lay, throughout the Texas Conference. “That said,” he continued, “extra kudos are in order for Rick Carpenter for his outstanding leadership in disaster response. This year alone, Rick has led three disaster response teams: one for tornado relief in Alabama, and two for wildfire relief in Bastrop (not to mention his plans for another Bastrop trip in early 2012).’”