When a disaster strikes, there is an amazing team right here in Dacula that is ready to help. The Emergency Response Team at (HMUMC) is a team of 21 certified volunteers lead by Chuck McPherson. This team is dedicated to helping those in need.
McPherson had been involved in emergency response for seven years in Florida. When he arrived at Hamilton Mill, he spoke with the pastor about starting a team at the church.
“For the past year I have worked on putting a team together, and now we are ready to start sending people out to disaster sites,” McPherson said.
The team is a part of the United Methodist Committee on Relief’s North Georgia Conference.
“When disasters strike, the conference calls our team out when people need help in our area,” McPherson explained.
The team consists of mostly members of HMUMC, but there are a few non members as well. Team members have to go through training for certification, and must be 18 years old to go out on cleanup sites.
“We have 21 certified people at this point,” McPherson said. “Our mission statement is to provide a clear Christian presence in the face of disaster.”
McPherson has dedicated his time and talents to this ministry because he believes that helping those in need is what we are called to do.
“We are doing as Jesus has commanded us to do, and that is to go out and help other people,” McPherson explained. “This is a very significant way that we can do that.”
When the team is called to a disaster site they help people bring their homes back to some sort of order.
“We help them clean up trees off the lot that have fallen down,” McPherson said. “If there was a flood, we go in and do what they call mucking out -- where you go in and get out all of the mud and everything else out of the house. We try to stop or eliminate different molds that can start growing. We also put tarps on houses to keep water from damaging the homes anymore.”
But, before the cleanup starts, the Emergency Response Team first takes care of the people. As loving and caring Christians, they are not only there to help with the physical recovery, but the emotional one as well.
“The survivors of the disaster come first,” McPherson stressed. “That is our primary goal. The clean up and everything we want to get done of course, but we want to be there to offer assistance to folks by talking to them. After a disaster, people really need someone to vent to. Psychologically they may be very damaged themselves.”
Part of the Emergency Response Training covers caring, and what to say and what not to say. The course prepares the members on how to respond to survivors.
“We do not call them victims,” McPherson said. “They are survivors, and they need our attention.”
When disaster strikes, McPherson and the HMUMC Emergency Response Team are trained and ready to help.
“People do not have to feel like they are lonely and there is no one out there to help,” McPherson said. “When we show up, people know we are there, and it is a sense of relief.”
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