Baptists meet needs in wake of North Texas tornado

Volunteers with a TBM rapid-response chainsaw crew work to removed a fallen tree from a home in Richardson. The night before, a tornado cut a 17-mile path of destruction through north Dallas County. (TBM Photo / John Hall)

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In the immediate aftermath of a tornado that swept through North Texas on Oct. 20, leaving behind a 17-mile path of destruction, Texas Baptist Men disaster relief volunteers offered rapid response and Christian compassion.

TBM chainsaw volunteers respond the morning after a tornado hit northern Dallas County. (TBM Photo / John Hall)

The first of many TBM chainsaw crews gathered at daybreak the morning after the storm hit to begin helping residents clear fallen trees and large limbs from their homes. The initial crew worked in a hard-hit residential area north of Richland College in northeast Dallas County.

“The Dallas tornado tore a hole in our hearts as it ripped through the city,” TBM Executive Director Mickey Lenamon said. “It rocked people’s world.

“We’re providing help, hope and healing in Jesus’ name to people and families affected by this tragedy.”

The storm left more than 150,000 Dallas-area residents without electrical power much of the night, caused many schools throughout the area to cancel classes the next day and forced multiple road closures. By 7 a.m. on Oct 21, more than 65,000 Dallas County residents still lacked electricity in their homes.

At least two churches seriously damaged

At least two churches in Dallas Baptist Association sustained serious damage to their facilities—Northway Church and Primera Iglesia Bautista of Dallas. No injuries were reported at either church site.

“Last night the church building suffered a direct hit from a tornado that came through northwest Dallas,” Northway Church posted on Facebook the morning after the storm hit. “We mourn the loss of our building, but remember that the church is bigger than a building as we turn to see how we can serve our community.”

A second post on social media noted the need for volunteers who could help “knock on doors in the neighborhood and help to remove debris, cut and remove trees, pick up trash, etc.”

The tornado directly hit Primera Iglesia Bautista in Dallas, destroying its fellowship hall and the sanctuary where the congregation met for worship the last four decades. See a related story here.

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Ricardo Brambila, pastor of Primera Iglesia Bautista in Dallas, also is director of the Buckner Family Hope Center at Bachman Lake—a neighborhood that is 93 percent Hispanic and one of the most economically challenged areas in Dallas.

Personnel from Buckner International were assessing needs of clients in the area the day after the tornado hit. The Family Hope Center

TBM disaster relief ministries are made possible by gifts from individuals and churches. All gifts designated for disaster relief through TBM are used for disaster relief ministry. To contribute financially, send a check designated “disaster relief” to Texas Baptist Men, 5351 Catron, Dallas, TX 75227, call (214) 275-1116 or visit

This article will be updated as new information becomes available.  

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