Rodney Burkholder, Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS) Region I Secretary, and five Early Response Team (ERT) members from the Harrisonburg, VA, area cleaned up trees and debris in Ghent, WV, after tornados hit the area on Oct. 7.
Burkholder reports that during their 36-hour whirlwind work trip they saw that, “Structural damage was minimal but tree damage was overwhelming.”
The MDS ERT group was contacted by Jenny Gannaway, West Virginia Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) chair, in response to a request for help by the Emergency Services Department in Raleigh County.
Describing the work trip, Burkholder said, “I had five energetic young guys with chainsaws and two Bobcats with grapple loaders. We unloaded the equipment early Saturday morning and went to work in a steady drizzle.” The group cleared driveways for homeowners who had been blocked in since the storm and removed downed trees from buildings.
Burkholder said that the homeowners they helped were very grateful. “After we finished opening the long driveway the owner’s wife approached me in tears and thanked me over and over for helping them.”
The group helped over 10 homeowners and a community church clean up their properties.
MDS featured in new book
Brenda Phillips, PhD, Associate Dean at Ohio University in Chillicothe, has published a new book titled “Mennonite Disaster Service and the Gulf Coast Recovery“ A long-time friend of MDS, she is a widely published author on disaster recovery and socially vulnerable populations and has received numerous awards and recognition. Phillips is donating all of the royalties of book sales to MDS. To order a book at a download an order form here or call the Binational Office, (717) 735-3536. The book will be “library quality,” so consider donating a copy to your church library.
The book has been described as an “academic study and a story—a truly engaging one—of people helping people in a very special way. This is a close up view of those who experienced the destruction of Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Ike and those from the Mennonite Disaster Service who came to help. Together they built a classic therapeutic community. This important book is a valuable resource not only for students and academics who will find rich empirical support for many theoretical concepts, but for anyone who wants to understand and appreciate giving and receiving in disaster recovery.”— Maureen Fordham, Northumbria University
MDS featured on NBC Nightly News! MDS was featured on the NBC Nightly News on March 29, 2011. To see the story that features our Diamond, La. project, click on the link below:
MDS on the News