DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – When disaster does its worst, Texas Baptist Men–or TBM as it’s now being called– can be counted on to deliver hope. Next stop? North Carolina.
“We have some that are going that will run chain saw crews, some that will be cutting trees up, some will be cleaning out houses, doing mud out,” says Unit Leader Ray Gann. “My calling is the cooking.”
Gann, an insurance broker, takes time off work to lead the crews who will prepare meals for those already working in the hurricane and flood ravaged area. And that includes those coming from Texas to help.
“If you go out in your backyard and cut down a tree that’s one thing; but, when you have to cut a tree out of a house, that’s another thing,” says Wendell Romans, a volunteer leading chain saw crews, “so we go through a lot of training.”
Romans, now retired, says he’d be miserable sitting around all day. So he’s looking forward to the 18-hour days in a disaster zone, helping strangers find their way forward.
“Their first reaction is disbelief. When they find out that we’re there to help and it won’t cost them a penny, we do it all in the Lord’s name, it’s just unbelievable to them,” says Romans.
For more than a half century, the volunteer driven organization has been helping communities recover and rebuild, even bringing in services that traumatized survivors most likely haven’t had time to consider.
“We have childcare units that also go out,” says Rand Jenkins with TBM, (volunteers) tell them stories, reads them books, while their parents are beginning that process.”
Rand says citizens often want to rush to disaster areas to lend a hand; but, that is being discouraged at this time because so many of the areas are still off limits.
TBM will travel in a caravan to gain access to those areas and once there they’ve been asked to coordinate requests for assistance. He says they’re not in a position to accept donated items, so the best way to help is to make a financial donation to the recovery efforts.
“Once you meet the people and they start figuring out what we’re doing and why we’re doing it, one of the last things they want to do is give us a big hug when we leave,” says Romans. “So it’s a blessing all the way around,” and then adding, “I think we receive bigger blessing than they do.”