TBM relief workers move mud, debris in Colorado

A Texas Baptist Men chainsaw crew from Bluebonnet Baptist Association work to remove trees felled by raging floodwaters in Jamestown, Colo. Bill Blackwell led the chainsaw team, based out of Canyon Lake. (TBM PHOTOS/ Courtesy of Cookie Slate)

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JAMESTOWN—Texas Baptist Men disaster relief volunteers continue to serve in Jamestown, Colo., clearing debris from the flood-ravaged mining town.

When the James River flooded, it destroyed much of the town’s infrastructure, leaving many residents without clean water and electricity and rendering some roads impassible.

tbm tractor400Heavy equipment operators remove debris caused by flooding in Jamestown, Colo. (TBM PHOTOS/ Courtesy of Cookie Slate)Mud-out crews with shovels, high-pressure hoses and disinfectant continue to clean homes damaged by flooding.

“It’s not mud as much as it’s houses filled with sand, rock and gravel several feet high,” said Judge Camp from First Baptist Church in Lewisville, who served as on-site coordinator. “Our volunteers go in with buckets and shovels and take it outside.”

Homes swept into river

Some homes were swept off their foundations by raging water, and volunteers filled sandbags to hold back water that continued to erode the land around some buildings, he added.

“Some houses were washed into the river,” Camp reported.

One Jamestown couple who married two months ago saw their home washed away by floodwaters and deposited as a pile of rubble about 100 yards away. TBM volunteers removed lumber and other heavy debris so the couple could retrieve some personal belongings, including a few treasured wedding presents.

Chainsaw crews

Chainsaw crews removed fallen tree limbs and felled trees in danger of falling due to heavy erosion. Volunteers using skid-steers and other heavy machinery removed boulders, trees and debris from yards.

Chaplains accompany each work crew to talk with residents and offer them prayer and spiritual counsel.

An emergency food-serve team cooked and served meals in the town hall, providing food for local residents and volunteers who arrived to help with recovery efforts.

An incident-management team is on site to coordinate the disaster relief effort.

Volunteers are racing to complete work before winter. The Baptist General Convention of Texas disaster recovery office is enlisting additional volunteers to assist trained TBM disaster relief volunteers with light and heavy debris removal. Volunteers need to bring work gloves, hard-soled work boots and clothes for both warm and cold weather. For more information, contact Marla Bearden at (214) 537-7358.

–Stephanie Midkiff of Texas Baptist Men contributed to this report.

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