Church volunteers aid in Hurricane Michael cleanup efforts
Published 10:29 am Friday, November 2, 2018
By EMILY SPARACINO / Staff Writer
“Widespread destruction” is what Barry Sadler said he and other local volunteers saw in Florida in the days after Hurricane Michael barreled through the Panhandle last month.
“It was just tragic,” said Sadler, Stake President of the Bessemer Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. “Trees and power lines were down all over the city.”
Sadler was among nearly 1,400 volunteers from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi who traveled in groups to assist with cleanup efforts on multiple weekends. Of the volunteers, an estimated 75 were from Shelby County.
“All that I have talked to have been grateful for the opportunity to go and help others,” Sadler said. “It’s just been a great experience for us to be able to go and serve and let people know we care.”
Workers took supplies such as tarps, first aid kits, food items, personal hygiene items, tools and construction equipment with them.
“It’s a special feeling of seeing others in the community going out and helping,” he said. “There were a lot of people involved.”
Quinn Millington, Stake President of the Montgomery Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said nearly 140 people from his area spent their weekends putting tarps on roofs and removing trees and debris from people’s yards.
“We were humbled by the circumstances that we found while working this past weekend and we were inspired and strengthened by the circumstances of those we were serving,” he wrote. “It was a wonderful opportunity for us to come to know our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ more completely by following His example of service.”
In addition to distributing supplies and providing manual labor, Sadler and others from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints prayed with people as they picked up the pieces of their lives in the wake of Michael’s destruction.
“We don’t always understand God’s will and why things like this happened, but we can use it as an opportunity to pull together as a community and as a group,” Sadler said. “The residents we’ve helped have been very grateful.”