|Tazewell District pleads for flood-relief workers
By Annette Bender
Disaster-relief coordinators in Tazewell District are requesting volunteers to help residents recover from a devastating flood occurring May 25, followed by two more storms within two weeks.
The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) has provided $10,000 in relief funds as district workers gear up to aid 182 individuals requesting assistance from Russell County, Va., officials.
"At the present time, we desperately need mud-out teams and people to do 'grunt work,'" Tazewell District Superintendent Gene Lovell said in a recent email plea for volunteers. "I know this hits at a terrible time with everyone trying to get ready for [Annual] Conference, but the victims of flooding don't know or care about conference. All they know is that they need help."
The Rev. Mike Ward, pastor at First Honaker UMC, visited damaged areas shortly after the floods and has been involved in organizing relief efforts. "The wall of water was estimated to be at least 10 to 12 feet high and went straight down the mountain, fed by numerous small streams and creeks from hollows through the region," Ward said of the fourth major Tazewell-area flood within four years.
Ward estimated that 700 to 800 homes had been affected, including more than 300 homes with minor-medium damage, 32 homes with major damage, and 26 homes destroyed. No United Methodist churches were damaged and no lives were lost.
The fellowship hall at First Honaker UMC is available to accommodate volunteer groups for overnight stays, Ward said. Second Harvest of Abingdon has offered to provide food.
Leaders of volunteer church groups are urged to contact the Rev. Paul Hite, district disaster coordinator, by phone (276) 880-2194, or (276) 880-1117. Or, contact the Rev. Mike Ward by email or (276) 873-5155.
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