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ERTs help after tornado hits Spartanburg

ERTs help after tornado hits Spartanburg
Photo by Billy Robinson. Misty Vazquez, Leslie Hendon, Gus Meyers, Kevin Douglas and Elaine Turner cut and remove debris from the home of Trey and Leslie Hendon.

By Billy Robinson

South Carolina United Methodist Volunteers In Mission’s Early Response Team responded to Spartanburg Oct. 24 in the aftermath of a tornado that had devastated several neighborhoods the day before—including blocking access to homes with large debris and toppling trees onto and into several homes.

More than 20 volunteers using three ERT trailers and a skid steer worked hard cutting out egress and removing fallen trees from five homes, including the home of Trey and Leslie Hendon, which had two big trees on it and a huge pine tree blocking all access to the rear of the home. Their driveway was also blocked by a massive, twisted pile of downed trees. Leslie Hendon is the daughter of Spartanburg District Superintendent Paul Harmon. Harmon and Hendon both helped with the ERT response, as well.

ERT personnel worked with a strong Christian drive to complete the five homes before nightfall. Nathan Welch, Upstate ERT coordinator, used his skid steer to move large volumes of debris including helping push portion of one tree off a home.

Chuck Marshall, assistant state ERT coordinator and Spartanburg District disaster coordinator, managed this ERT response and also several additional responses to the damaged area over the next days.

A total of 12 homes and families received aid and got their lives back to normal through the “Christian love in action” volunteers exhibited.

Robinson is statewide coordinator of the South Carolina UMVIM ERT. To learn more about becoming an ERT: 803-539-8429 or

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