Georgians helping Kentucky tornado victims with housing


MONROE, Ga. – In a brainstorming session, leaders of two Georgia religious organizations asked what they could do to truly help tornado victims who lost their homes in Kentucky last month.

The answer they came up with will roll into Kentucky on Saturday – travel trailers that will serve as temporary housing for survivors while they rebuild.

“It’s amazing what God can do in us and for us when we submit to him,” said Chris Conner,  associational mission strategist in the Appalachee Baptist Association. “We started sending the word out, and we said, ‘let’s pray for two RVs and we’ll fill them up with detergent, hygiene items, cleaning items,’ and then the Lord just started blessing.”

Churches, businesses and individuals in the Appalachee association contributed more than $100,000, enough to buy four of the campers, twice the number they had prayed for.

“That’s a God thing,” Conner said.

Kentucky remains in a dire situation nearly a month after the tornadoes, especially in the hard-hit Mayfield area where the campers are destined for.

Piles of debris – much of it shingles, boards and other building materials ripped from homes – are everywhere, courtesy of the violent tornadoes that killed 77 people in Kentucky

Countless houses were ripped form their foundations or had their roofs torn off. Others were turned into splintered lumber and broken bricks.

Authorities have said the damage and devastation is so massive that it could take years before the community returns to normal.

Ricky Thrasher, head of Georgia Baptist Disaster Relief, said the Monroe-based groups made a wise decision in send trailers for Kentuckians to live in. Along with food and water, shelter is vital, especially in the middle of winter.

The Appalachee association worked with the group Faith in Serving Humanity, known locally as FISH, on the project. It was that’s group director, Cindy Little, who suggested purchasing the campers, which are 26-feet-long containing a queen-size bed, two bunkbeds, a fully equipped kitchen and bathroom.

“We’ve had people bring sweaters, coats, laundry detergent, toys, and we’re filling the trailers up with those to take up there,” Conner said. “We’re also going to take two sets of washers and dryers up there so the people in the community will be able to use those.”

The Appalachee association is working with Rosebower Baptist Church in Redland, Ky, which will identify the families that will use the campers. A foster mom of 11 children will be the first Mayfield resident to move in.

“Needless to say, it’s going to be a tight squeeze,” Conner said.

Conner and his wife Sandra had met Rosebower Pastor Justin Mason and his wife Kendra nearly 10 years ago at a pastor’s conference in Florida. The wives had stayed connected on Facebook and after the tornadoes, they reconnected. 

“I am so blessed to serve a wonderful family of churches,” Conner said. “There are 35 of them, and all of them pulled together to be a service to people and a service to God. We are better together.”