Honoring Danny Thompson: Disaster volunteers gather to honor longtime service of friend

By Billy Robinson and Lee McMillan

On Oct. 29, 14 United Methodist Volunteers in Mission, Early Response Team and disaster response personnel gathered at Danny Thompson's home in Anderson to honor his many years of dedicated volunteer service.

The men and women gathered to present Thompson with a special plaque in honor of his leadership and service, which they said has been an inspiration to countless people and given aid and relief to countless others in need.

“He is a shining example of being God's hands and feet to others in need and a beacon of light and hope,” said Billy Robinson, Early Response Team coordinator.

Indeed, Robinson said, Thompson has represented the UMVIM motto, “Christian Love in Action,” for many years through his local church and community, including Emmanuel’s Hammer, Warm Projects, Wood Ministry and various others.

He has been heavily involved in UMVIM since the 1990s and ERT since its formation in 2004.

ERTs head straight into the aftermath of disasters, and South Carolina ERTs have responded to hundreds of various disasters throughout the state and the Southeast since its formation.

Thompson was instrumental in the formation and building of ERTs in South Carolina from the ground level, from the first major response to the Gulf after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 to today, with more than 2,000 different people certified and volunteering with eight disaster trailers strategically placed across the state along with various other equipment.

Thompson has always been heavily involved with chainsaw work, debris removal, clean/muck out and tarping of storm damaged homes. He has also been involved as a state leader, helping coordinate volunteers, housing, disaster work and supplies for teams and trailers. As both a South Carolina ERT state leader and district disaster response coordinator, he has coordinated responses and preparation for various Upstate disasters, as well as across the state and throughout the Southeast, plus even one response to the Northeast after Hurricane Sandy.

“Danny’s professionalism, superior level of expertise and total quality, along with his big loving and caring heart, has been instrumental in the formation of our South Carolina ERT today, plus UMVIM and our United Methodist Church as a whole. It has been one of the distinct honors and privileges of my life to have known and be associated with Danny for which I am forever more blessed,” Robinson said. “May his light shine forth forever in our disaster response ministries that he loved and cherished so much as well as all of UMVIM and the countless lives he has touched.”

Lee McMillan of UMVIM said when she first started going to UMVIM meetings more than 20 years ago, she met Thompson, “A man who always had a smile on his face and the most gentle manner you can imagine. He advised me about trips and what to expect and then, lo and behold, he was brave enough to go with me, the team leader, to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.”

“For over 30 years Danny has found time to say yes to UMVIM teams taking him all over the world,” McMillan said. “Think about it: over 30 years spent being a true and faithful servant of our Lord’s. How blessed I have been to be able to call him my friend and I know everyone who knows Danny feels the same way.”

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