LCR sent John Osberg to Albany GA last week with a truck load of donations, and to scout out the situation. Here’s his report along with an invitation to join in our trip this Friday-Sunday (October 26-28). Adults can contact PastorStephen@LCRmarietta.org to get involved. – Pr. Stephen
I would like to share with you an update of the Hurricane Michael situation as I saw it from my recent visit to Albany Georgia. The hurricane damage in the Albany area, which is a 3 hour drive from Marietta, is not the utter devastation seen in the news. The Albany area is recovering from a major disaster that destroyed homes, business and unfortunately lives. I think millions of trees fell in the area. Roofs blew off and there was so much windblown destruction it was very hard to see, little lone describe here. Water and power are being restored. It is the poorest in the area that have the oldest roofs and they are most likely to be the ones with no homeowners insurance that will help them pay for damage repair. On this trip I might have witnessed mass damage and seen tens of thousands of homes, businesses and victims of the storm. But I also saw the best of America and Americans.
The purpose of my trip was to bring down a truck full of much needed supplies that were donated by LCR members, to assess the situation in the Albany area, and to identify needed partners, facilities and resources that would be available to any volunteers from our area that want to help with the hurricane relief efforts underway in that area. There is a very impressive and well organized disaster response underway there. It is being led and organized by Samaritans Purse, out of North Carolina. This huge Christian disaster relief organization’s effort is based on the Golden Rule; “love your neighbor as yourself”. The necessary recovery effort was way too extensive for the Albany community to do themselves. They are counting on, and drastically need much help from volunteers outside of their community. Volunteers from our area will benefit from a mandatory training session before going out to the field, getting an experienced supervisor going out with them in the field, being provided necessary tools and supplies (although we should bring our own tools and personal safety gear where possible). Samaritan’s Purse and the Albany Relief Organization work together to keep volunteers safe and productive.
Notes from the first trip:
I took my pickup truck that was fully loaded with emergency response supplies to Albany Georgia this past Thursday. I stayed overnight with Pastor Doug Hudson, Trinity Lutheran Church. It will be Trinity Lutheran and St. Patrick’s Episcopal / Lutheran churches that are our hosts. When I arrived in Albany, I met with Pastor Doug and was quickly led by Father Nick Roosevelt, St Patrick’s Rector, to the central distribution and disaster recovery center – a converted, previously empty, Coca Cola bottling plant. I drove up to the warehouse and they unloaded the water, the snacks, and they took the gift cards. Then they asked me to back my truck up to a waiting trailer and put the tarps on the trailer. Some of the tarps were large enough to cover 1/2 of a small house’s roof. At the time, I thought that was unusual to not even get them into the main warehouse. Later, reflecting on the day, I realized that the trailer with the 11 tarps departed 5 minutes later. That night probably about 8 families had new water tight roofs would be my bet. And perhaps even more importantly they probably knew that someone was there for them. Loves them. And that has to have been uplifting to help with them with new reasons to go on during such a dark time.
Next steps – Please help:
The disaster recovery “war” room I visited (see attached pictures) has a list of almost 1500 open work orders. And the list if growing. Volunteers are working 7 days per week. But most of these volunteers are from the Albany community itself. And each of them is dealing with their own issues from Hurricane Michael. Several said to me that no one seems to be helping the Albany from outside areas. Albany is largely overlooked by the media. Even though the hurricane was still a 2 when it came into town.
- Our First planned Disaster Recovery trip to Albany – Volunteers Needed:
For our first disaster response trip we will depart at 7 AM Friday October 26th and we plan on staying down there for 3 days – through Sunday. We have been invited to attend a 9 AM church service Sunday at St. Patrick’s. We will stay there in a large area that includes couches, cooking facilities and a large sleeping area in the modern, beautiful, St. Patrick’s Church. It has several bathrooms but only one shower. So we have also been invited to use the showers (and for that fact all of the facilities) at the very extensive and nice YMCA that is close by. Later in the week we will come up with necessary sleeping cots and such details and get back to anyone that volunteers. Unfortunately no young people can go on this first trip. It is just too dangerous for them. I think we will have separate facilities for the ladies, but that is still being worked on.
This has to be a quick response: Albany’s need will not wait until a convenient time for us to volunteer. We have many seasoned disaster relief volunteers among us and I would greatly appreciate getting help on these challenges so that we can respond quickly and effectively. This needs to be viewed as a long term recovery effort, which it is. We will organize other trips to help out Albany in the coming weeks so please register with us so we can stay in touch with you by emailing (PastorStephen@LCRmarietta.org).