Moran lifts burden off chainsaw crews
By Allen Palmeri
October 18, 2005
WINFIELD – Roger Moran, a layman from First Baptist Church, Troy, who is a member of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) Executive Committee, is sold on the idea of every state convention deploying at least one skid loader with a grapple bucket to support disaster relief chainsaw crews.
Moran, owner of Brooks Brothers Trailers in Winfield, was willing to haul his company’s Bobcat T300 rubber track machine down to Bogalusa, La., Oct. 5-9 to help with Hurricane Katrina cleanup. Danny Decker, the Missouri Baptist Convention’s point man on disaster relief, decided to send Moran and his wife, Ronna, to First Baptist Church, where volunteers from Missouri, Illinois and Tennessee were on duty. The Morans were unsure how they would fit in with the trained Disaster Relief workers, but they came home convinced that their labor was needed.
“We went in with that T300 and could move that material out as fast as two chainsaw teams could cut it up,” Roger Moran said. “Jobs that they said would take them a week or two weeks to do we did in just two, three or four hours.”
His T300, which is virtually brand new, is worth about $50,000, Moran said. The grapple bucket was added on loan from a Bobcat dealer in St. Louis. If another Southern Baptist layman can bring a similar setup to the ravaged Gulf Coast, he can expect to be treated like a tank commander rolling up to a weary platoon of infantrymen, Moran said.
“We ought to give consideration to equipping our guys with the best equipment we can when they go out on disaster relief work, so they don’t have to kill themselves in manual labor,” he said. “It’s an encouragement to them when they can whip out 10 jobs to every one without the right equipment.
“It was just an honor to work with these folks. In my opinion, they have prepared the soil for hearts who will never forget what Southern Baptists did for them. Those yellow shirts (of the disaster relief volunteers) were a testimony all over that town to our commitment as Southern Baptist Christians to minister to people in a dark hour in their life.”
Ronna Moran, who helped her husband by picking up brush, was inspired to head south by watching her church week after week send several groups of workers. The Morans consider church volunteers, who often are not counted in North American Mission Board statistics, to be the genuine heroes of Southern Baptist Disaster Relief.
“The real story is the multitude of people who are doing things and we don’t even know they’re doing it,” Roger Moran said.