Lieutenants Vinal and Brenna Lee are leading a dedicated group of volunteers this week to help flood victims in the southern Indiana community of Madison. The banks of the Ohio River have spilled into the town and surrounding areas, prompting disaster response efforts from The Salvation Army Madison Corps. Below is Lt. Brenna Lee’s report from the field after days of providing shelter, mobile food & hydration service to victims and emergency workers, and flood clean up assistance.
Lieutenant Brenna Lee, Madison IN Corps
July 15, 2015
God has been doing great things here in Madison, even through desperation and devastation!
The Salvation Army, along with many other first responders, arrived on scene at 1:45 am the morning of July 14. Upon arrival, there was about four feet of water in the location that was the most devastated, which was a local trailer park. Individuals were rescued from their homes by boat, while others were jumping out windows and swimming to safety. There are several blocks of homes that are devastated; homes are immersed with water, mud and debris. Many homes have been condemned or encouraged to never be entered again, leaving 200 people displaced within Jefferson County.
Our goal as The Salvation Army is to simply demonstrate God’s love, assuring people that someone cares and that we will be with them until the very last person is rehoused. By the grace of God and the support of community we are able to obtain this goal by providing three meals a day (dinner is the only additional meal that is an extra one from our regular programming), furniture and laundry services. We are able to clean and evacuate houses, and even reunite families.
Today we are overwhelmed by God’s provision and the generosity of our community. It’s amazing to see how people are coming together to rescue, support, and recover. We have been collaborating well with other churches and organizations within Jefferson County. The details of a two highlighted moments are listed below:
Flood victims Samantha Kollman and Darin Reynolds:
Our personal friends, Darin and Samantha and son Hunter were victims of the flood. Their home was located in the trailer park where most of the devastation occurred. They had two feet of water building up in their trailer as they were waiting for rescue teams. Eventually they decided to jump out their window and swim through four feet of water to safety. Upon their departure, they realized that everything they owned was under water including their vehicles. Both individuals are members of a local church that we work with, New Life Church. The very next day they had a full crew working on their vehicles and house and were recovering as many items as possible. Through friendship, we were able to connect with New Life and partner together to serve our community. They have been alongside us 100% – cleaning houses, plumbing, repairing equipment, working shelter shifts, etc, but Sam’s story doesn’t end there! Sam has been so overwhelmed by the love and support of her church family and The Salvation Army that she is giving her home to a woman who has been displaced from the flood. Once the repairs and clean up is completed, Sam will be passing off her house to become someone’s home just to demonstrate God’s continual love.
A friend from our local news contacted us and asked if we could collaborate. He knows a lot of people in town and has a lot of community networking. He called several churches and organizations to encourage their involvement as we passed out meals, cleaned homes and removed debris. We planned to meet July 15 at 2:00 pm, and by 1:00 pm there were approximately 50 volunteers with their sleeves rolled up and ready to work!
If you are interested in helping The Salvation Army assist flood victims in Jefferson County, please call (812) 265-2157. In addition to monetary donations, they are in need of items like furniture, cleaning supplies, clothing, trash bags, latex gloves, bottled water, non-perishable food items, and towels. Please note that 100% of monetary donations designated for flood relief will be used for this specific purpose.