NAPLES, Fla. – By utilizing a large turnout of volunteers from the community. Texas Baptist Men is multiplying the ministry’s impact in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian.
Extensive flood damage and the availability of local volunteers increased the disaster relief response coordinated by TBM. TBM feeding volunteers and flood recovery teams arrived in Naples shortly after the storm. At the same time, hundreds of local volunteers offered to help.
About 150 employees of Arthrex stepped up Oct. 7, to help their neighbors. Arthrex gave employees the option of volunteering instead of coming to their normal work day. Volunteers from the Air Force followed three days later, and a steady flow of volunteers from the community has bolstered TBM’s ministry after Hurricane Ian.
“When disasters strike, especially in our own hometown, everyone wants to help,” said Mickey Lenamon. “By providing a structured way for people in Naples to do that, do it effectively and do it safely, TBM has been able to deliver more help, hope and healing faster than ever before. This is a model we will continue to use as we respond to this hurricane and future disasters.”
Experienced TBM and Louisiana Baptist flood recovery volunteers took the lead. Teams of 12 Arthrex workers went out with two experienced leaders, fanning out across hard hit portions of the city. The homes were identified previously as needing help with removing furniture, ripping out sheetrock and preparing the damaged portions of homes to be rebuilt.
“These Arthrex volunteers are amazing,” said Sabrina Pinales, TBM ministry advancement coordinator. “They responded so well to the TBM Disaster Relief experts and provided much-needed hands for this work.”
Sid Riley, a veteran of TBM Disaster Relief ministry, said: “Our trained TBM volunteers became teachers and supervisors today, showing these new volunteers how to safely do this work. Many of the Arthrex workers were young adults, and this created an opportunity for our experienced people to teach them. Plus, they were strong and motivated and stayed hard at work all day.”
Reports to the TBM Command Center in Naples indicated businesses offered to provide similar cleanout services for up to $45,000, which is beyond the means of many homeowners. Homeowners were often shocked when TBM volunteers offered to do the work for free.
Virtually anything not made of metal or certain plastics will be ruined by extended exposure to water, as occurred in Naples. The long-term damage is not always evident initially, but mold and rot continue to advance.
“Situations like this are really hard on people,” Pinales said. “They’ve gone through the trauma of the storm and flood, and now they have to part with items that often have great sentimental value.”
Riley said the care that TBM volunteers bring to homeowners is something money can’t buy.
“We really do care about them,” he said. “We show the love of Jesus and share why we are doing this, as well.”