S.C. ERTs removed downed trees after icy weather

By Billy Robinson

After snow and ice from Winter Storm Izzy blanketed much of the Southeast, a crew of Early Response Team members headed to the Greenwood District Jan. 17 to remove downed trees and other icy debris from homes and neighborhoods.

Fourteen sets of boots were on the ground within 24 hours of the icy winter mix Jan. 16 that caused trees to crash into homes and more.

The Jan. 17 mission was coordinated in conjunction with the Greenwood County Emergency Services director by the Rev. Mike Evans, who is the Greenwood District Disaster Coordinator. Fourteen South Carolina United Methodist Church ERT volunteers braved frigid conditions that created wind chill in the 20s, accompanied by 30 mph artic winds.

The conditions made it extremely hard to tarp roofs, but ERT members pitched in with hard work and loving hearts and accomplished the task.

Among the responders was Greenwood District Superintendent Dr. Stephen Love, who worked hard alongside other ERTs to help homeowners in need.

One woman lost her heating and air unit because of a fallen tree. When it was discovered she was a member of Lowell Street UMC in the area, Evans reached out to her pastor, Rev. Cheryl Remchuk, who was able to get space heaters in the woman’s house so she could heat her home until the unit is repaired.

"I did not know that we United Methodists had this wonderful ministry," the woman shared.

Responders included Evans and Love, as well as Greenwood District Lay Servant Ministries Director Cathy Trevino, Dawn Rhodes, Bill and Elaine Turner, Curtis Burnett, Tony Watson, Sandy Shaffer, Leonard May, Jerry Pullen, Felix Vazquez, Michael Hughes and Billy Robinson.

It is an honor and joy, with blessing beyond all measure, to be a part of God's hands and feet to people during their times of need. The UMCSC ERT ministry is in need of equipment such as tractors and skid-steers and other support, as well as volunteers. To be a volunteer, one needs to attend a one-day training. The next scheduled ERT training class will be held at New Beginnings UMC, Boiling Springs, from a.m. to 5 p.m. on March 5.

For more information: [email protected] or 803-539-8429.

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