Illinois Baptist Disaster Relief teams responded in the wake of tornadoes that tore across the state Feb. 28, leaving several communities to pick up the pieces. Volunteer teams worked largely on chainsaw projects, removing damaged limbs and clearing debris.
In Elkville, located 20 minutes north of Carbondale, volunteers from Metro East, Saline, and Williamson Baptist Associations responded to needs in that community and nearby Vergennes and Ava after a tornado cut a wide swath of damage across two states before ending near Christopher, Ill. Don Kragness, a Disaster Relief “blue cap” supervisor and member of Third Baptist in Marion, told local TV station WSIL, “We are here, basically, because we love Jesus and we want to serve him, and the best way we know how to serve him is to help people when they’re in need.”
FBC Elkville served as a headquarters for community response to the tornado; the church helped relocate families and made sure they had necessary clean-up supplies, and is continuing to distribute resources to those in need.
A Disaster Relief team from Greater Wabash Association also responded to needs in the Crossville area, and Franklin Association lent their Disaster Relief shower trailer to the recovery efforts.
In northern Illinois, volunteers worked in Naplate and near the town of Ottawa, where two people were killed and homes were destroyed by a tornado that produced wind speeds of 155 mph. Disaster Relief workers from Three Rivers Association assessed damage in the area, and Streator Baptist Camp housed volunteers who came to serve.
Illinois Baptist Disaster Relief has more than 1,700 trained volunteers who serve as part of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Disaster Relief ministry—the third largest relief agency in the U.S. For more information about upcoming Disaster Relief training opportunities in Illinois, go to IBSA.org/dr.