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Dealing with disaster
Local disaster volunteers travel to devastated areas
Photo courtesy US Weekly--Pictured is some of the Hurricane Harvey damage inflicted in Rockport, Texas.

McMinnville resident Doug Warren saw destruction at its worst when he flew to Japan for disaster relief efforts following the 2011 tsunami.
The death toll was estimated at more than 15,000 with another 6,000 injured.
"It was just overwhelming," said Warren when asked about seeing the aftermath in Japan. "With the death toll they had, it would be like a town the size of McMinnville being completely gone."
Warren is a certified disaster relief worker with the Southern Baptist Association. Jerry and Joan Chandler are also certified with the organization and have traveled to their share of disaster zones.
The three say they are currently on standby awaiting word on when they will be asked to help with Hurricane Harvey relief efforts.
"The first thing that has to happen is all the water has to clear," said Joan. "They are still working on the feed and rescue teams.Tennessee's feeding unit is capable of serving 50,000 meals a day."
The Chandlers were called out to volunteer at eight disaster sites in 2016. That included a hurricane in Savannah, Ga. They also went door-to-door with bottled water and tap water filters during the water crisis in Flint, Mich.
Jerry says it's a chance to help people at their time of greatest need.
"When people go back to their house and see everything is ruined, it's just disbelief," said Jerry. "And when you provide help, they just want to hug you and thank you for what you're doing."
The accommodations for disaster relief workers are skimpy. The volunteers must  bring their own cots or air mattresses for bedding and typically stay in a nearby church affiliated with the Southern Baptist Association.
Since infrastructure is often destroyed in a disaster zone, volunteers bring everything with them to be completely self-contained. This includes mobile shower and laundry units.
"After you've been doing flood recovery, you're pretty nasty at the end of the day," said Warren.
The volunteers often have to deal with no electricity and no available water, just like residents of the area. All three are certified through FEMA and TEMA.
Providing comfort is also a key part of the job. Jerry and Joan both serve as chaplains.
"We try to reassure them and we share the word of Jesus if we get a chance," said Jerry.
There are some 2,000 credentialed disaster relief workers through the Southern Baptist Association in Tennessee. The organization is the third largest disaster relief group in America behind the Red Cross and Salvation Army.
The Southern Baptist Association will be accepting supply donations beginning this Tuesday to take to disaster sites later this month. It's already projected cleanup efforts will span well into 2018.

The Southern Baptist Association is accepting donations for Hurricane Harvey relief efforts beginning this Tuesday at Pioneer Community Church at 1707 Yager Road. Collection hours are 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

• Box knives
• Hammers
• Flat pry bars
• Flat shovels
• Tyvek suits
• Wheel barrows
• Rubber Gloves
• Floor Squeegees
• Wheel Barrows
• X-Large Garbage bags
• Hoses
• Safety glasses
• Leather gloves
• Small scrub Brushes
• Box Fans
• Rubber Gloves
• Scoop Shovels
• Push Brooms

Paper/other Products
• Toilet paper
• Paper towels
• Plates
• Plastic ware
• Cups
• Napkins
• Bowls
• Shampoo, Deodorant, Soap
• Feminine hygiene products
• Baby wipes, Diapers
• Gatorade/Powerade
• Gift Cards

Clothing-No Used Clothing
• New Underwear and bras-All sizes in original package.
• New Socks in all sizes