Area TBM chainsaw crews respond after San Antonio tornado

Richard Woods, a TBM disaster relief volunteer from First Baptist Church in San Antonio, removes a log cut from a storm-damaged tree. TBM chainsaw crews worked in an area on San Antonio's northwest side hit by a tornado on May 24. (Photo / John Hall)

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When a tornado packing 100 mph winds hit an area on the northwest side of San Antonio, Texas Baptist Men volunteers from the area stepped up to meet their neighbors’ needs.

John Roby, a TBM chainsaw volunteer from First Baptist Church in San Antonio, works on a lift. Roby is securing a line to make sure a limb does not damage the roof of a home when it is cut. (Photo / John Hall)

The National Weather Service confirmed an EF1 tornado touched down in northern Bexar County after 7 p.m. on May 24, and straight-line winds caused additional damage. The storms left more than 40,000 residents without electricity on Sunday evening.

Trained TBM disaster assessors went to work on Memorial Day, surveying damage and determining areas of greatest need.

The next morning, TBM chainsaw volunteers from the region began removing tree limbs from rooftops and clearing downed trees and other debris from the homes of residents affected by the storm.

TBM volunteers from First Baptist Church, Shearer Hills Baptist Church and First Chinese Baptist Church in San Antonio; First Lockhart Baptist Church and Mineral Springs Baptist Church in Lockhart; and First Baptist Church in Kenedy participated on May 26.

John Weber, a TBM volunteer from Shearer Hills Baptist Church in San Antonio, works with a chainsaw crew, removing storm damaged limbs from homes in an area on San Antonio’s northwest side. (Photo / John Hall)

Dwain Carter, TBM state disaster relief director, expressed appreciation for the contributions of volunteers willing to work all day and then drive for an hour to get home at night.

Under normal circumstances, Texas Baptist churches often house out-of-town TBM disaster relief teams in their facilities. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictions in place to prevent its spread, TBM is seeking to rely on disaster relief volunteers within a reasonable driving distance from affected sites whenever possible, he noted.

Carter anticipated the TBM chainsaw volunteers likely would continue to serve in San Antonio three or four days.

Other TBM crews worked five hours to the north in Montague County over Memorial Day weekend. Chainsaw, food-service and shower units responded to needs in Bowie, where an EF1 tornado hit on May 22, damaging about 200 homes.

To support TBM disaster relief financially, click here to make an online donation, or mail checks designated “disaster relief” to Texas Baptist Men, 5351 Catron Drive, Dallas, Texas 75227. All donations made to TBM disaster relief support disaster relief ministries.


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