Tony is not alone. Winter Storm Goliath brought heavy rain that swelled the Mississippi and its distributaries, leaving behind flooded lowlands from Illinois to the Gulf Coast. Rivers rose to historic heights in many areas and flooded many homes with several feet of rushing water. On January 21, the U.S. government issued a disaster declaration for 33 counties in Missouri, 39 counties in Alabama, and five counties in Mississippi. These declarations allow individuals to apply for federal funds to assist in their recovery.
“Just think about what it would be like if a river overflowed into your own home,” said Rich Grasman, a regional manager for World Renew Disaster Response Services (DRS). “The floors, walls, furniture, clothes, pictures, and anything else in way of the water would be ruined.”
Rich and his wife, Pat, traveled to Missouri to meet with community leaders and flood survivors. They set the stage for World Renew’s long-term response. One of the first of the response is helping families clean up their belongings and muck out their homes.
To accomplish that, World Renew DRS volunteers are in Eureka, Missouri, from February 2 to 19, 2016, to help families like Tony’s with the physically and emotionally draining task of clearing out debris, tearing out soaked carpet and drywall, sanitizing to stop mold growth, and sorting through damaged personal items.
“Flood water brings with it all sorts of debris and mud into homes: it doesn’t disappear when the water recedes,” Grasman said. “What’s left is a mess, and seeing your home wrecked by dirt and waste is hard on people. Trying to get things cleaned up can be overwhelming.”
World Renew DRS volunteers are easily recognized by homeowners and response agencies alike. They are referred to as green shirts or green angels. World Renew DRS volunteers wear green polo or t-shirts as they serve disaster survivors in the U.S. and Canada. Their compassion is founded in their love for Christ.
As World Renew DRS volunteers clean up homes, they interact with each survivor and their home with a heart of Christ-like respect. Volunteers realize that a lifetime of memories may be hidden in each shovel full of muck, each arm load of soaked carpet, and each garbage bag filled with damp clothes.
“I helped a woman clean out her home after a flood,” said volunteer Doug Van Der Meulen. “She called us her ’green angels.’ She lost her husband, her son passed away a short time later, and then her house flooded. The combination of the loss of her family and then her home…. It just completely overwhelmed her. We ended up cleaning up two feet of debris from her yard. She had a lot to struggle with, and I am so thankful that we could relieve her of the stress of cleaning up debris.”
World Renew DRS volunteers are easily recognized by homeowners and response agencies alike. They are referred to as green shirts or green angels, World Renew DRS volunteers wear green polo or t-shirts as they serve disaster survivors in the U.S. and Canada. Their compassion is founded in their love for Christ.
World Renew will be helping more homeowners in communities affected by Winter Storm Goliath in the weeks ahead. DRS is developing long-term recovery plans and offering services including construction estimating, assessments, and reconstruction while communities make progress on their road to recovery.
You can help homeowners like Tony and others in this article by giving today to North American Disasters 2016. Your support assists disaster survivors who were affected by Winter Storm Goliath with their recovery, from clean-up, through reconstruction, to restoration.
*Feature image by FEMA/Steve Zumwalt