Georgia Baptist Disaster Relief crews return from hurricane zone with praise from leader


Georgia Baptist volunteers clear a tree from a home in Louisiana after Hurricane Ida.

The Christian Index

DULUTH, Ga. – After more than a month in Louisiana’s hurricane zone, Georgia Baptist Disaster Relief crews have returned home with praise from their leader for doing so much to help victims get their lives back in order.

Georgia crews have been rotating in out of Louisiana since shortly after Ida made landfall on August 29 with 150 mph winds, causing billions of dollars in damages.

“These folks are so good at what they do,” said Ricky Thrasher, head of the Georgia Baptist Mission Board’s Disaster Relief ministry. “They have done an excellent job in very difficult circumstances, and we’re glad to have them back home.”

The respite could be short lived, depending on whether Louisiana officials request additional help.

“That’s kind of up in the air,” Thrasher said. “We may have to re-engage at some point. We’re playing that by ear.”

So far, Southern Baptist Disaster Relief crews serving in Louisiana have cooked some 700,000 meals, cleared trees from more than 600 homes and provided more than 250 temporary roofs.

Thrasher said many of the Georgia’s more than 7,000 trained Disaster Relief volunteers are retirees. Others are working-age men and women who take vacation time from their regular jobs to help storm victims. He described them as unsung heroes who leave their families for extended periods to help people in crisis.

“These are people who serve on chainsaw brigades to remove fallen trees, mud-out teams to remove mud from flood-damaged homes, feeding units to prepare food for victims and volunteers, childcare workers, chaplains, laundry units, shower units, just about whatever is needed to help get these victims of Hurricane Ida back on their feet.”

Ida tied for the fifth-strongest hurricane ever to hit the continental U.S. The storm caused widespread property damage, knocking out electricity to nearly all of Louisiana and damaging more than a million homes and businesses.


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