Southern Baptist Disaster Relief

SBDR Truck and Trailer

The state of Vermont endured historic flooding in July 2023, the worst since Tropical Storm Irene hit the landlocked state in 2011. Rivers overflowed, with the Winooski in Montpelier cresting at 21.02 feet, the highest since 1927.[1] Two people died, including one hiker on the Appalachian Trial.[2] Local police, fire, and emergency medical services responded, as did the National Guard from Vermont and the surrounding states. The American Red Cross arrived to provide shelter and other services.

Other groups came to Vermont to help, but with much less fanfare, including the Samaritan’s Purse, Salvation Army, and Billy Graham’s chaplains. Southern Baptist Disaster Relief sent hundreds of volunteer responders to help flood victims recover. I joined the West Virginia team in Barre VT, from 23 to 29 July. Led by Ron W and supported by Roy P. (SBDR’s incident commander), our group of eight tackled recovery jobs throughout the region.

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Fire and Rescue Training

Tough fire and rescue training produces more skilled fire and rescue personnel and safer communities.

By Mark D. Harris

Work has pulled me to the DC area during the week and home has pulled me to West Virginia on weekends and holidays. One of my tasks around DC is to provide medical support for a group of rescuers specially trained in structural collapse, confined space, trench, and ropes.  Simultaneously, I remain on the Beaver Volunteer Fire Department and dive team. It is the best of all worlds.

My primary field is medicine, and while I have helped pull victims from fires and entrapments, my primary usefulness comes once the patient is out. I admire people who risk themselves to rescue people and keep them alive until they get to people like me. Such work requires imagination, skill, intelligence, and courage, which was demonstrated at an exercise in northern Virginia in September of 2020.

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Fire Safety

Fire is rare, and thankfully getting rarer with advances in technology. When it happens, though, it is devastating. Read the fire safety tips below and implement changes in your home and life. 

By Mark D. Harris

The young man stood silent and motionless, holding a baby boy as he stared at the raging fire. The tongues of flame had consumed his garage and everything in it. Now they had jumped to his sport utility vehicle (SUV) parked close by. The single wide mobile home that he and his wife shared with their children stood about ten feet away. Thankfully, his family had escaped uninjured. The siding had been damaged by the heat of the fire, but the house had not caught…yet.

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Shooting with Sons

Shooting, including hunting, tactical training, and target practice, is both enjoyable and educational. It is a good way to enjoy friends and family, and to provide for and protect yourself and those you love in times of need. Safe shooting should be a core skill for all interested Americans.

By Mark D. Harris

Last week I went to the gun range to shoot with one of my sons. Over the years, members of our family have spent many hours on ranges and hunting grounds from Alaska to Germany. Shooting is a useful skill and a pleasant pastime, and we were glad to find the range open again after COVID-19. As we use our weapons, we try to keep several factors in mind:

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