When the Salvation Army asked for volunteers to help Georgia residents recover after floods devastated homes in several counties, a local captain responded to the call.
Mike Rodgers, captain of Salvation Army’s Hickory Corps in Mount Airy, traveled to Austell, Ga., on Wednesday of last week to help man a mobile feeding kitchen. He returned this Tuesday after spending long hours each day providing meals for the people trying to clean up their wrecked homes.
Rodgers handled a few neighborhoods in the low-lying field area of Cobb County outside of Atlanta along with the help of Jake Richmond from Greensboro. The men provided a few hundred meals twice a day and hundreds of snacks and beverages each day to people in the flooded area.
When homes are flooded, Rodgers said residents have to throw away anything with insulation or fabric to prevent the spread of bacteria. He said while he was there, many people were having to rip the insulation out of their houses and throw away many of their possessions.
Most houses had been flooded all the way up to the ceiling. Rodgers said one home in the area had been completely removed from its foundation by the flood. In a nearby mobile home park, 40 of the mobile homes were condemned. Rodgers said he saw many submerged cars.
“Responding to floods ... it’s very sad. The morale is so low among the people,” Rodgers described.
This was the 11th disaster response and third flood response that Rodgers has participated in. He said that flood scenes are especially unpleasant because not only are the residents very upset, but the smell is hard to endure.
Rodgers and Richmond were the only two members of their team. Salvation Army response teams usually consist of three to four people. Rodgers said the organization also had response teams coming from Winston-Salem and other areas in a few states. These teams provided food for the victims and talked and prayed with the victims.
“There was a number of people that came in and responded,” remarked Rodgers.
Many of the residents in Georgia have had to stay in shelters and local churches. The American Red Cross usually focuses on the shelter aspect of disaster relief. Rodgers said the next task of the Salvation Army and similar agencies will be to work on recovery and rehousing with the flood victims.
According to a preliminary disaster assessment released by the American Red Cross on Tuesday, 2,803 Georgia homes were affected by the floods. Of these, 745 were destroyed and 760 sustained major damage. Nine people were killed in Georgia by the floods. Gov. Sonny Perdue declared a state of emergency in 17 counties during the disaster. John Oxendine, state insurance commissioner, said the flooding caused an estimated $250 million in losses.
Salvation Army employees and volunteers from across the nation come to help in disasters such as the Georgia floods. Rodgers said he doesn’t have many volunteers from Mount Airy to help with natural disasters.
“Unfortunately, we don’t seem to have a response team of volunteers from here,” Rodgers said.
Most volunteers interested in helping the Salvation Army with disaster relief participate in training seminars to help prepare them for the experience.
“You never know exactly what to expect, but you know how we usually respond to things,” Rodgers explained.
The captain said he was willing to speak with anyone interested in volunteering with Salvation Army relief efforts. He can be contacted at 786-4075.
Contact Meghann Evans at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 719-1952.