Texas Baptists respond as tornado damages FBC Mineral Wells

From the Texas Baptist Men Mobile Command Post, TBM volunteers helped coordinate disaster relief operations in Van.

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MINERAL WELLS—A tornado that ripped through downtown Mineral Wells damaged the family life center, welcome center and youth room at First Baptist Church, but it caused no injuries.

Russell Maddox from the Baptist General Convention of Texas church architecture office met with leaders from First Baptist and an insurance adjustor to help assess structural damage, offer counsel and help the church connect with a structural engineer.

fbc mineralwells damage425A tornado that hit downtown Mineral Wells damaged the family life center, welcome center and youth room at First Baptist Church.Three other BGCT Executive Board staff—David Scott, director of Texas Baptists’ Disaster Recovery ministry; Chris Liebrum, director of Cooperative Program; and Joe Loughlin, director of the Connections area—also met with Pastor Nathan Buchanan and provided limited financial assistance to help meet immediate needs.

A Texas Baptist Men disaster relief chainsaw crew from Palo Pinto Baptist Association and a heavy equipment operator from Possum Kingdom First Baptist Church in Graford worked in Mineral Wells, helping clear trees and other debris. 

TBM disaster relief volunteers served in multiple locations around the state while preparing for anticipated record floods in the Wichita Falls area, said Terry Henderson, state disaster relief director.

In East Texas: 

• TBM set up its mobile command post at First Baptist Church in Van and deployed an incident-management team and chaplains. First Baptist Church in Edom provided housing for out-of-town TBM volunteers.

• Volunteers from Green Acres Baptist Church in Tyler also set up their mobile shower unit in Van.

damage van425A home damaged by the tornado that hit Van, Texas.• A chainsaw crew from Harmony-Pittsburg Baptist Association provided respite for volunteers from First Baptist Church in Athens and Kaufman-Van Zandt Baptist Association, who responded immediately after the tornado hit Van.

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• A team from Ellis Baptist Association distributed cardboard boxes to allow residents whose homes had been affected by the tornado to gather scattered possessions.

• A crew from Pineywoods Baptist Camp in Woodlake installed three portable light towers, and a temporary roofing crew from Soda Lake Baptist Association and a Dallas-area childcare team completed their work in Van.

In North Texas:

• A Denton Baptist Association crew wrapped up work distributing cardboard boxes in their area. 

• Chainsaw crews from Denton Baptist Association, Collin Baptist Association and the Granbury area completed work just north of Dallas and Fort Worth, but Denton chainsaw volunteers then started work at Runaway Bay on Lake Bridgeport.  

• A Collin Baptist Association mud-out crew completed its assignment in Celina, and then a team from the same area went to work in Bridgeport.

In West Texas:

• Chainsaw crews from First Baptist Church at Canyon Lake and Possum Kingdom First Baptist Church in Graford, along with a mud-out team from Wylie Baptist Church in Abilene and volunteer heavy-equipment operators completed work in the Cisco area, about 45 miles east of Abilene. First Baptist Church in Cisco housed the volunteers.

In South Texas:

A mud-out crew from Portland went to work in the Robstown area, near Corpus Christi.

In Central Texas:

TBM deployed an assessment team to Somerville to evaluate flood damage and sent a mobile laundry and shower unit to College Station to support Texas Task Force 1, an urban search-and-rescue team.

TBM disaster relief relies entirely on donations. To give, click here or send a check designated “disaster relief” to Texas Baptist Men, 5351 Catron, Dallas 75227.

Long-term recovery

In disasters, TBM provides immediate relief for survivors and support for first-responders and emergency personnel. Texas Baptists’ Disaster Recovery program focuses on involving churches in long-term community recovery.

“The long-term recovery phase of these disasters is beginning,” said Marla Bearden, BGCT disaster recovery specialist. “Texas Baptists’ Disaster Recovery will begin mobilizing teams to disaster areas to help rebuild and repair homes of those who are without insurance, underinsured, elderly or disabled.”

Early indicators point to no individual financial assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, she noted.

“This is where the faith-based family can help,” Bearden said. “Texas Baptists’ Disaster Recovery has identified homes in Van and Donna—as well as other areas across the state—that fit our assistance criteria and will need help. TBDR specialists have vetted these families and know their needs are truthful.”

Texas Baptists’ Disaster Recovery program will seek to coordinate church-to-family partnerships “to help these individuals who have lost so much,” she said. The first Van resident identified by Texas Baptists’ Disaster Recovery who needs a church partner lacks homeowner’s insurance due to devastating health issues, she added.

• $10,000 provides materials to rebuild a kitchen—including replacing appliances—of a home in Van.

• $5,000 provides materials to rebuild the roof of a home in Van or Donna.

• $2,500 provides materials to rebuild the bathroom of a home in Van, Donna or Eagle Pass.

• $2,000 provides materials to repair the roof of a mobile home in Donna or Van.

• $500 will replace the windows in one room of a home in Van or Donna.

• $100 will replace drywall in a home near Corpus Christi.

Donations can be made payable to and mailed to Texas Baptists’ Disaster Recovery,
333 N. Washington, Dallas 75246 or contributed online here

Churches can provide volunteer teams to perform light and heavy construction, fence building, painting, yard cleanup and other tasks. To sign up or receive more information, contact Bearden at (214) 537-7358 or click here

Skilled and experienced construction volunteers can volunteer through the Shalom Builders program. Contact Gerald Davis at (214) 924-6401 for more information.

This summer, Bounce Student Disaster Recovery will spend a week in Mineral Wells working on construction projects, which may include assistance at First Baptist Church.

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