February 5, Super Tuesday, brought a super amount of tornadoes to themid-west. 87 Tornadoes touched
down and over 57 people died as a result of these storms. This is the deadliest outbreak in the modern
area since 1997.
Randy from our church, had just moved to Tennessee. On Wednesday morning, I immediately called him to
see if he had any info on what was actually going on in the area. He put us in touch with the emergency
management office of Jackson. They asked that we come to help them with the relief efforts as soon as
I went to church on Wednesday night and talked to Anthony, a young man who was currently not working.
I asked him what he was doing for the next couple of weeks, he said nothing, so I asked him to join me.
I contacted Scott from Christian Contractors Association and he said he had plenty of tarps and sticks for
us to patch up roofs. We loaded up our things and headed to Brooksville to get what Scott had for us. We
drove through the night and arrived around 3 AM on Thursday. We had set up in advance to stay at 1st
Baptist of Bemis and Mathew got out of bed and let us in.
What a blessing, heat (remember it's winter and we're from Florida), showers and a kitchen!
We got a few hours of sleep and took off for the EOC. We met up with a few difficulties at first, and
weren't sure if we were where God wanted us or not. We went back to pray about things and decide what
we were going to do. We received a call from the mayor's office apologizing for how we were treated and
asking us not to leave as they needed our help. We thanked God and said yes.
The mayor's assistant arranged for us to get meals locally and she met us for dinner giving us an official
Jackson, TN shirt from the mayor!
The next morning we met the correct people and helped them get set up with their volunteer resource
center. They had no liability paperwork for volunteers and homeowners and no work order paperwork for
homeowners. I offered ours to them in Word format. They took them and changed the heading to reflect
their community and now use them!
We helped them run the VRC and took work teams out every day. A contractor donated a Bobcat/track
steer for us to use, which was a great tool to haul things to the road.
We hooked up with a local CC guy, Sergio who used to pastor a CC in CA and had just moved to TN. A
Bartlett CC pastor, John, his son Daniel and the Memphis CC pastor's son, Benjamin, who was in the Union
University dorm when it was destroyed, came up and joined us on Tuesday. The following day I noticed a
young guy hanging out at the VRC by himself. The county workers often came in for coffee and donuts so
I asked Lynnette, the county liaison for us, if he was with them. She said no so I went over and introduced
Turns out that he was from Buffalo and had driven there to help people! I asked where he was staying and
he mentioned a flea bag hotel. I told him if he wanted to work with us we could provide a place to stay and
make sure he got fed. He agreed and took off with us.
We had been contacted by Wes from CC Chestersprings, PA and Cassie from Harvest Fellowship in
Indianapolis. They both wanted to bring in teams to help out. Wes agreed to come in the next weekend
with a team of 18 and Cassie with a smaller group the following weekend.
It was really cold for us, Anthony had never been out of FL before so he really enjoyed the weather!!
We documented 17 homes that we worked on while there, but there were some that we just joined up on.
We passed out over 150 flyers to different homeowners offering help and had left enough work for both
teams that came in after us. We continued to keep in contact with the city/county for long term recovery
efforts, but local ministries were able to step up and take care of the needs.