Over the years, the North Alabama Conference Disaster Response Team had trained, prepared and responded to disasters such as tornadoes. Team members were ready to respond and a Disaster Response Plan was in place. However, no plan could anticipate 62 tornadoes in one day.
Yet from the first moments after each storm, United Methodists were in action. During the first few weeks following April 27 storms, more than 70 early response teams from in-state and out-of-state immediately responded to the needs of Alabamians who had damaged or completely destroyed homes.
Six months later, North Alabama continues to host hundreds of volunteers committed to rebuilding the area.
North Alabama Conference Disaster Recovery Team welcomed 68 volunteer teams from across the country since late May. Volunteer teams have repaired dozens of homes and have rebuilt several homes. Teams have focused on repair or replacing roofs, framing homes, putting up drywall, painting and cleaning up debris. The selfless spirit of the volunteers has impacted families within five of the eight districts comprising the North Alabama Conference.
These teams have also contributed to the district disaster recovery funds.
Most importantly, the recovery volunteers are also restoring lives. Homeowners continually comment that volunteers and their service become answers to prayer. Many homeowners could never have made the repairs to their home due to costs or physical incapability.
Approximately 800 volunteers have visited Alabama with the North Alabama Conference Disaster Recovery Team to help rebuild homes. Almost ten percent of the volunteers are youth. Those volunteer recovery teams represent nearly every annual conference and jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church.
Without the help of volunteers, rebuilding in North Alabama would not be possible. Volunteers have logged thousands of service hours in North Alabama, and many more will be contributed until the last damaged or destroyed home is rebuilt.