Baptists on Mission volunteers served and ministered to residents in Garner who were affected by a tornado.
Disaster response volunteers with N.C. Baptists on Mission joined the storm cleanup efforts in Garner after a tornado touched down in the town located on the outskirts of Raleigh on Sunday.
On Monday and Tuesday, N.C. Baptists on Mission volunteers were on hand assessing damage and serving homeowners in neighborhoods impacted by the tornado, which snapped and uprooted trees and caused property damage. No injuries or fatalities were reported.
Much of the damage was localized to neighborhoods along Timber Drive, one of Garner’s main thoroughfares.
Some trees fell on homes, causing extensive damage. The Town of Garner reported 21 homes were damaged during the storm. Town inspectors found four homes to be uninhabitable and two others partially uninhabitable due to the damage. Four other homes sustained major damage, and 11 others suffered minor damage, according to the town.
A team of nine Baptists on Mission volunteers were out early Tuesday removing fallen trees and remaining debris from residents’ yards. At one location, volunteers removed the remnants of two large trees that had fallen into the front yard of homeowner Susan Rodriguez and were still blocking her driveway and garage.
“It’s very sweet that they’re doing this because it saves me an expense that I really can’t afford at this point,” said Rodriguez, adding that she is also still grieving the loss of her husband who died about three weeks ago.
Volunteer Mike Klapp, who also serves as executive pastor at The River Community Church in Fayetteville, had a chance to talk with Rodriguez and pray with her after the team concluded the work at her residence.
“We told her ‘Jesus loves us, and Jesus loves you,’ and that’s why we’re out here doing what we are doing,” Klapp said.
At another location, volunteers removed a large tree that had fallen and stretched across the yards of three adjacent properties.
Baptists on Mission volunteers were continuing to assess damage on Tuesday, and ministry officials said they would be serving residents impacted by the storm as long as they are needed.
“We are thankful that we have volunteers who are willing and able to serve on such short notice, especially with this storm that hit Garner,” said Tom Beam, Baptists on Mission’s disaster response coordinator.
The tornado that touched down in Garner on Sunday was spawned by a series of storms that moved across the southeastern United States, causing unstable atmospheric conditions.
The National Weather Service classified the twister as an EF1 tornado, which carries wind speeds of up to 110 mph. Weather service officials said the tornado touched down at approximately 12:28 p.m., spent four minutes on the ground and traveled about 1.5 miles in a mostly straight, northeasterly path.