Georgia Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers finish hurricane cleanup after grueling 2 weeks

Georgia Baptist volunteers cut hundreds of fallen trees off homes, serve 30,000 meals to hurricane survivors, lead 10 people to Christ


VALDOSTA, Ga. — Two weeks after Hurricane Adalia walloped south Georgia, doing some $35 million in property damage and knocking out electricity across a large swath of the region, Georgia Baptist Disaster Relief crews finished the cleanup on Saturday and headed for home.

Disaster Relief Director Dwain Carter said chainsaw-wielding volunteers cleared away hundreds of fallen trees from homes and prepared more than 30,000 meals for residents of the Valdosta area.

Hundreds of Georgia Baptist volunteers were in Valdosta within 24 hours after Idalia blew through on August 30. The cleanup was complicated by the enormity of the trees that were knocked down.

Disaster Relief volunteers from Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama and Virginia were called in to assist with the work.

“Imagine the damage a CAT 2 hurricane will do on the coast but think about it with 100-foot-tall pines and oaks,” Carter said.

Carter credited the out-of-state Disaster Relief volunteers for helping complete the cleanup so quickly. He said it would have been impossible without them.

Georgia Baptists from all walks of life typically join forces to help of earthquakes, floods, wildfires, tornadoes, and hurricanes. They went to Poland last year to assist refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine.

In Valdosta, the cleanup crews included a fighter pilot, a medical doctor, a mechanic, a college professor, loggers, farmers, construction workers, a retired meteorologist, a retired Delta pilot, a restaurant owner, nuclear power plant employees, preachers, and retired missionaries.

The volunteers slept on cots and air mattresses and ate meals prepared in mobile kitchens.

The goal, said Chris Fuller, a longtime Disaster Relief volunteer and a retired campus minister for Baptist Collegiate Ministries, is “to bring hope, healing and help” to those who need it most.

During the south Georgia deployment, Disaster Relief volunteers also reported that 10 of the people they helped became Christ followers.