SFA Wesley Foundation College Students Help Fire Victims Pick Up the Pieces
In early January, students from the Stephen F. Austin Wesley Foundation went to Linden, Texas to take part in wildfire relief. In September 2011, more than 40,000 acres burned and approximately 70 homes were destroyed.
Although residents in the area received aid from FEMA, much more help was needed, so the Wesley Foundation stepped in to offer assistance. As the first “outside” group to go in, we experienced a warm welcome from the community of Linden. The community was so grateful, a newspaper article was written to announce our upcoming trip and a local TV station covered our work at the sites.
Twelve students from the Wesley Foundation worked hard, but found it to be rewarding. Six trees were cut down; brush piles burned, debris cleared from bulldozed homes, and built three porches – all in three days. Families were finally able to move back into their homes for the first time since the fires began.
The goal was to improve the lives of people in the community. Instead, the group left with the gift of their lives being improved and changed. Yet, what will be remembered most is what the town of Linden did for us the short time we were there. Residents cooked meals were cooked for us, and pizza was donated twice. They joined in helping to get the work done. The host church, Linden UMC, was extremely welcoming. The pastor and his wife brought us two cakes. The owner of a hardware store offered us tools to use from her home. A mechanic stayed late and fixed our van for free. A woman in her car stopped us on the street and thanked us. It needs to be understood how amazing and generous this town is, despite so much loss. There is more work to be done in Linden and we encourage other local churches and ministries to choose this site for your next service
project. To see video of one of the stories, go to http://www.ktbs.com/video/30145569/index.html.