Disaster ReBuilders establish volunteer base in Madisonville, Kentucky for long-term tornado recovery
MADISONVILLE, Kentucky — The Fuller Center Disaster ReBuilders are now accepting volunteer groups to work out of their newest base of operations in Madisonville, Kentucky, which is situated midway between two small towns that were devastated by a December tornado — Dawson Springs and Bremen.
Disaster ReBuilders President Bart Tucker said the first volunteer team will begin working the week of February 7. The rest of the month already is booked with the next available volunteer team opportunity beginning the week of February 28. Those interested in registering to volunteer can do so at FullerCenter.org/Disaster-ReBuilders. He added that volunteers will find local residents eager to pick up the pieces and ready to work alongside them.
“This is a community that isn’t waiting on outsiders to help them,” he said. “Oh, yes, volunteers are very welcome but they’ve not waiting on us to start.”
Fuller Center for Housing President David Snell was impressed with the speed at which the Disaster ReBuilders were able to set up a base of operations but hardly surprised.
“It was just a few short weeks ago that tornadoes tore through Kentucky, leaving disaster in their wake,” Snell said. “The Fuller Center Disaster ReBuilders are already on the ground, moving storage sheds into place and preparing the way for house building to get under way. These folks have been a blessing to disaster victims in North Carolina, Texas, Florida and Louisiana and are now bringing their skills and experience to Kentucky.”
The Fuller Center continues to talk with other communities and groups about other potential areas for the affordable housing ministry to assist long-term recovery operations. These discussions come as The Fuller Center expanded its footprint in Kentucky with Tuesday’s addition of its newest covenant partner in the state capital of Frankfurt.
The Disaster ReBuilders are partnering with Madisonville’s First Christian Church, which has outstanding volunteer facilities — something that didn’t happen by accident, according to First Christian Church senior pastor the Rev. Kara Foster.
“We built an education building in 2009 — before I was here — and they were intentional about showers knowing how important they can be for service work,” Foster said. “In fact, after the tornadoes I had members asking, ‘When can people be in our building?’ They were antsy to know that it would be utilized, and we’re thankful that the Fuller Center Disaster ReBuilders will be using it.”
She added that partnering with the Fuller Center Disaster ReBuilders is a blessing for their church and the devastated communities in the area.
“Even though our community in Madisonville wasn’t directly hit, all around us there was so much devastation,” she said. “Immediately, our people were already asking how help serve.”
And those were not rhetorical questions about how they could serve. It’s part of the church’s philosophy of service.
“We really just try to be the hands and feet of Christ,” Foster said. “You can’t just talk the talk.”
The Disaster ReBuilders’ Heather Westcott talks about the new base in Madisonville: