UMCOR Needs Help at Beaver Crossing!

We have received a call from Lance Clay.  They need people to help at Beaver Crossing with UMCOR.  We need help from people with going door to door, having prayer with people, clean up, sorting debris, or handing out health kits (a variety of tasks, depending on people’s abilities).

Director of Congregational Excellence the Rev. Evelyn Fisher drove to Lincoln today by way of Beaver Crossing, Neb., to check out tornado damage from Sunday night’s storms. The volunteer center is set up in Utica, Neb., at an old gymnasium located at 4th and F streets. It will open at 8 a.m. on Tuesday and all volunteers are asked to check in at the location to get an assignment. Trained early responders (ERTs) are asked to report there before going anywhere to achieve maximum coordination. ERTs are those who have received special training for working in disaster situations.

Beaver Crossing, a town of about 550-600 people, has major damage. The Nebraska Emergency Service coordinator told Fisher that just about every house in town is damaged to some degree, though they are still trying to come up with numbers.

Pastor Tamara Holtz reported the United Methodist Church and the parsonage received extensive damage. Most of the damage both places appears to be broken glass and roof damage. The steeple of the church was blown away and has not yet been found. A team from the Utica church is in Beaver Crossing cleaning up debris at the parsonage and church, putting tarps on the roof, etc.

At least 6-8 church members had homes destroyed. The church basement sheltered about 20 people during the storm. One of the residents told Fisher the town was hit by two different tornados, lasting a total of 17 minutes (unverified.) A family from the church who has special needs foster children, is being housed at the youth house next door to the Utica church.   The city clerk said they hoped to have their phone working later today. Fisher exchanged phone numbers with several of the emergency management teams on site with the goal of coordination with our United Methodist disaster response team. Fisher said, “Local administrators were pleased to hear of possible United Methodist support and potential access to United Methodist Committee on Relief cleaning kits, etc.”

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