EAGLE RIVER, AK – Southern Baptist Disaster Relief is known for being ready to help whenever disaster may strike. Our Arkansas Baptist Disaster Relief teams have proven that time and time again over the years. So, it is no surprise that when another Convention started asking for help on training new volunteers, Arkansas stepped up.
In January of this year, the directors of state disaster relief ministries met at their annual roundtable meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico. There, Arkansas Baptist Disaster Relief Director, Randy Garrett, met Gary Bearce, who is the volunteer director of Alaska Baptist Disaster Relief, and they talked about Arkansas helping Alaska with training new volunteers.
“Bearce had talked to Clay Quimby about some trailering and loading knowledge that Bearce had said they really needed,” Greg Hutchison, Disaster Relief Coordinator for Arkansas, said. “In that conversation with Randy Garrett, Bearce also mentioned that chainsaw training was needed so Randy volunteered me to go up.”
The team of four – Greg Hutchison and his wife Paulette and Clay Quimby and his wife Keturah – left Wednesday, May 11 for Eagle River, Alaska and returned on Monday morning, May 16 to Little Rock.
“They’re just getting started with Disaster Relief,” Hutchison said. “So, Keturah provided a introduction to Southern Baptist Disaster Relief presentation which explains to volunteers how we got started, what we do and how we do it.”
The team led trainings on chainsaw safety and procedures, trailer training as well as helped work on equipment that Alaska Baptist Disaster Relief had that needed hitches put on or maintenance done and provided suggestions on what improvements could be made in the future as new volunteer teams were created.
As a result of this training and help, Alaska was able to add five new volunteers to their growing teams.
As of right now, there are no specific plans to head back to Alaska, however, this further proves the dedication that Southern Baptists have to help one another in need. When they’re called upon for service, they will come.