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President Trump Visits Tornado Ravaged Lee County & The Salvation Army Continues to Serve

Beauregard, AL (March 8, 2019)— President Trump toured the tornado ravaged Beauregard community on Friday, and The Salvation Army was on hand, ready to serve survivors, volunteers, and work crews. The level of security required for a presidential visit meant that the highly secured disaster area was locked down tight until the president concluded his visit, but The Salvation Army was on the scene—ready and eager to get back into the area and back to helping the people.

As soon as the area was cleared for those granted access there, which still isn’t open to the general public, The Salvation Army canteen (mobile feeding unit) was in high gear, grilling hamburgers, hotdogs, and chicken for the people doing the massive ongoing cleanup effort. “Some of the people that we served said that it was just what they needed. That it was a godsend because God knows exactly what to send at the right time. We were there to fill that need,” said Lieutenant Bryan Farrington, who was working at the canteen as soon as people were allowed back into the area.

“I think it’s wonderful because I thought I was about to starve to death,” said Eric Bush, who took a break to eat a burger from the canteen. Eric is volunteering to help a friend, using his tractor to remove limbs from what’s left of his friend’s home. “It is awesome to see the presence of The Salvation Army helping feed people, and everybody just here to work, to try to pitch in and make a difference. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing—if you’re cooking hamburgers or moving limbs or picking up trash—it takes everybody,” Eric added.

As the weekend approaches, with Sunday marking one week since lives in this community were changed forever, emotional and spiritual care was again the greatest need. “It was good to be able to love on the people who were most affected by the storm and to hear their stories. To be able to share God’s love, to help them smile for a minute, to relieve some of the stress and strain. Words can’t describe what you actually see there, but it’s very rewarding to have an impact, to brighten their day for a moment and encourage somebody while they’re going through the midst of their trials,” said Lt. Farrington.

“This may seem impossible, but through faith it is possible. Through faith all things are possible,” said Napoleon Darby, resident of the hardest-hit area of Lee County. Napoleon’s home is destroyed. His is a tight-knit community with mostly family members as neighbors, and some members of his family didn’t survive the storm. There‘s a distinct heaviness in the air, and you can hear the deep pain in his quiet voice, but he refuses to let himself sink into despair. He’s choosing to focus on the good. Napoleon met President Trump on his tour of the area Friday, and it left a positive impression on him. “I shook his hand and talked to him, shook his wife’s hand,” Napoleon said.

Of his visit with Salvation Army officers on the same day he met the president, Napoleon says, “This is a testament that there are lots of nice people that care about people in the world. It’s easy to concentrate on the hate in the world but when you get exposed to the love in the world you have to lean more towards that.”

Birmingham Salvation Army Serving After Tornado from Remnants of Cindy

storm preparedBirmingham, AL – The Birmingham, Alabama Command of The Salvation Army will serve meals Thursday evening after a tornado tore through several communities in and around Birmingham. This comes as Emergency Disaster Services officials warned residents of the threat of flooding and tornadoes after Cindy was downgraded early Thursday to a tropical depression.

“Emergency officials asked us to serve meals and drinks in Fairfield and at the local EMA center following this storm,” said Major Roger Glick, Commanding Officer, Birmingham Area Command. “We will also provide emotional and spiritual care to those who need someone to talk to, a prayer, or even just a hug.”

The Birmingham Area Command will provide meals and drinks to the Jefferson County Emergency Operations Center and to a mobile command center closer to where the tornado touched down in the city of Fairfield. Disaster workers will be on site until 10pm Thursday night.

“Cindy is still a threat as it moves northeast across the top of our area,” said Terry Lightheart, EDS Director, The Salvation Army of Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi. “We know with projected rainfall from this storm more flooding could still be a possibility into the weekend. Many areas of the Division are also under a tornado watch or warning.”

With Salvation Army Corps located all across the Gulf Coast from Mobile to Biloxi to New Orleans and Lake Charles in Louisiana, officers will stay in close contact with local emergency management officials to make sure all needs are met. Shelters are also open to receive anyone who needs to escape rising flood waters.

“So far the impact of Cindy has been localized but Divisional disaster relief personnel and assets remain on standby until remnants of the storm have passed.”said Lightheart. “We would rather be prepared and not be needed than be caught off guard.”

Cindy downgraded to tropical depression, The Salvation Army still monitoring need

JACKSON, MS – The Salvation Army of Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi is still monitoring the needs across our three-state area even as Cindy is downgraded to a tropical depression. To this point, The Salvation Army has received no requests for assistance.

“Cindy is still a threat as it moves northeast across the top of our area,” said Terry Lightheart, EDS Director, The Salvation Army of Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi. “We know with projected rainfall from this storm more flooding could still be a possibility into the weekend. Many areas of the Divison are also under a tornado watch or warning.”

With Salvation Army Corps located all across the Gulf Coast from Mobile to Biloxi to New Orleans and Lake Charles in Louisiana, officers will stay in close contact with local emergency management officials to make sure all needs are met. Shelters are also open to receive anyone who needs to escape rising flood waters.

“So far flooding has been localized but Divisional disaster relief personnel  and assets remain on standby until remnants of the storm have passed.”said Lightheart. “We would rather be prepared and not be needed than be caught off guard.”

The Salvation Army serving in 3 locations following tornado outbreak across the South

new orleans tornado canteen

Disaster units in New Orleans, Livingston Parish, LA and Slocumb, AL

Jackson, MS (February 8, 2017) – Severe weather moving across the southern United States dropped multiple tornadoes Tuesday. The Salvation Army has responded with canteens or mobile feeding units to help serve those in need as well as first responders on scene to help.

In Louisiana, six parishes received damage from multiple tornadoes. Roofs where ripped off buildings, structures destroyed, trees toppled over roadways but thankfully no deaths.

The New Orleans area saw the most destructive of the storms. The Salvation Army’s New Orleans Command responded to Chef Menteur Highway and Wilson Road where disaster workers began food service.

“We served 112 meals and 266 drinks from our location, and we plan to help as long as people are in need and are recovery from these storms,” said Major David Worthy, Commanding Officer, The Salvation Army, New Orleans Command.

The Baton Rouge Salvation Army dispatched a canteen to Watson, Louisiana in Livingston Parish where workers served almost one hundred meals and drinks.

“This is difficult work for the first responders and a difficult time for those whose homes have been affected. We are grateful to be able to serve them,” said Captain Brett Meredith, Corps Officer, Baton Rouge Salvation Army.

The Salvation Army also has officers and trained employees on location to provide emotional and spiritual care to any residents and rescue workers who might need someone to talk to or allow us to pray with them.

“Our hearts go out to those who have been touched by Tuesday’s events, and we pray the work of The Salvation Army may ease the burden these folks are feeling during these times,” said Captain Meredith.

A tornado also touched down in Houston County, Alabama near Slocumb, Alabama Tuesday evening.  Alabama emergency officials report power outages, trees down over the roads, and several buildings damaged. The Salvation Army canteen from the Dothan Corps is serving in that location.

How People Can Help
The best way to help after a disaster is to make a financial donation.

  • Donate By Mail: The Salvation Army PO BOX 1959 Atlanta, GA 30301. Please designate ‘February Gulf Coast Tornadoes’ on all checks
  • Donate By Phone: 1-800-SAL-ARMY (1-800-725-2769)

Salvation Army canteens reaching areas under served following Hattiesburg tornado

Melissa and Mike Bagett

(Lamar County, MS) Looking around you wonder how anything is left standing. Very few trees are upright, and even fewer homes on a stretch of Sullivan-Kilrain Road in Lamar County, Mississippi just outside of Hattiesburg. Most of what was here is now scattered across several stretches of property. Residents were told this is where Saturday morning’s tornado touched down and began its path of destruction for fifteen more miles.

Melissa Bagett is looking for the hidden treasures of family pictures she might find through the piles of debris left behind. Melissa and her husband Mike were here when the tornado touch down just outside their home.

“I heard it come over the trees,” said Mike Bagett. “When they say get in the bath tub, get in the bath tub. It was over in five seconds but it left this.”

A portion of their roof was ripped off by the storm and vehicles were pushed several feet by the strong winds. Homes up and down this road experienced the same, but all walked away. Now they must rebuild or move like the Bagetts are doing. The Salvation Army was the first service organization to stop by and offer help in the form of meals and a friendly face.

“It means the world,” said Melissa Bagett. “We all are having to do a lot of work out here and don’t have time to eat. It’s appreciated.”

“It helps. It tells me the community understands you need sustenance after something like this,” said Mike Bagett.

Mike is right when he says community. These are local Salvation Army disaster volunteers from the Hattiesburg Corps dropping off several containers of food.

Hattiesburg Corps officers, Captains Patrick and Stacey Connelly have turned their attention to healing those devastated by the storms despite having lost the use of most of their facilities themselves.

“We are still in a state of shock, but we had to make sure we took care of the community that supports us,” said Captain Patrick Connelly.

Right now, the estimate to getting back in these buildings is six to nine months. For now, a portable office is already set up on the campus.

“We knew immediately we needed a game plan to run out social services, our Boys’ and Girls’ Club and to meet needs,” said Captain Stacey Connelly.

How People Can Help
The best way to help after a disaster is to make a financial donation to the charity of your choice. Monetary contributions also support local economies and ensure that businesses can operate when relief supplies diminish.

Feeding increases as clean up continues in Hattiesburg area

The Salvation Army now has four mobile feeding units covering the areas affected by the early morning tornado that left a path of destruction in and around Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Along the path of Saturday’s storms, roads are still blocked as power crews work to restore electricity to homes.

Salvation Army canteens set up so residents wouldn’t have to walk or drive too far for a hot meal or something to drink.

“I heard glass breaking and something hitting the house,” said Hattiesburg resident, George Dixon.

Dixon walked over for something to eat. He also was prayed for before he left.

“Seeing this truck makes you feel like someone cares about you,” said Dixon.

Veronica Williams drove up to The Salvation Army canteen knowing she could get a hot meal for her family.

“You always show up when people are in need,” said Williams. “You see that red and white, you are about to get help.”

Help comes in many forms. Michelle Overby and Jordyn Lester lived through Katrina on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Now living in Hattiesburg, they saw people in need and wanted to help.

“We drove down this street and saw how the people looked, that was how we looked after Katrina, so we had to help,” said Overby.

Michelle and Jordyn made sandwiches, chips bags, snacks and bought water to hand out, but with the road blocked they couldn’t deliver the food to a local church. That’s when they saw The Salvation Army canteen.

“The Salvation Army helped us and we wanted to do that here,” said Lester.

Michelle and Jordyn asked if they could pass out their food next to the canteen, and our disaster workers even let them use one of our tables.

The Salvation Army prepared and delivered meals, served drinks and snacks, and prayed with folks from the community.

With two mobile feeding units on standby ready to help if needed, disaster personnel with assess the need in the area and work with local and state emergency management agencies to provide for those in need.

How People Can Help
The best way to help after a disaster is to make a financial donation to the charity of your choice. Monetary contributions also support local economies and ensure that businesses can operate when relief supplies diminish.