JEFFERSON CITY – Missouri Baptists’ Disaster Relief (DR) response is going to be quicker and deeper according to a new structure for one the most highly visible ministries in the state.
Instead of a single “white hat” to manage an entire state – usually the state DR director – there are now eight additional volunteers who can operate as white hats when multiple disasters strike or time and distance make it necessary.
“I can’t do it all myself,” said Dwain Carter, the Missouri Baptist Convention’s (MBC) director of DR.
Those new white hats are:
Angie Hurd, laity, First Baptist Church, Hurculaneum-Peevely, specializing in childcare;
Ron Crow, pastor, First Baptist Church, Diamond, specializing in chainsaw;
Patrick Ryan, director of missions, Missouri Valley Baptist Association, specializing in incident management;
Michael Beasley, laity, Browning Baptist Church, specializing in shower units;
Ron Hahs, laity, First Baptist Church, Oakridge, specializing in mass care (feeding);
Jerry Palmer, director of missions, Heartland Baptist Association, specializing in communication;
Leighton Clemons, laity, Country Meadows Baptist Church, Raytown, specializing in mud-out/ash-out;
David Wells, pastor, Sandy Baptist church, Hillsboro, specializing in the laundry units.
Crow and Wells will serve as volunteer associate state directors.
“They’re going to help us be deeper, instead of just wider,” Carter said. “If we have multiple disasters at one time or the disaster is spread out over a larger area, now we can have leadership at each site that are all on the same page and will react the same way. It’s going to be a team effort going forward.”
Carter also said he hopes the structure will allow MBC DR to become more proactive instead of reactive when disaster strikes.
“We know disaster is going to come and more of what we do is going to be reactive, but the more we can be prepared in a professional way, the better off we’re going to be,” he said. “With hurricanes, we have a large window seeing it coming. On a North American Mission Board (NAMB) level, we’re starting a 120-hour pre-landfall clock. The same thing can happen with a flood. If we know a flood is coming down the river, we’d like to have the ability to help people move out of their homes prior to the flood hitting.”
“It’s also going to affect our training, which will hopefully let our people react better.”
Next year, Carter hopes to introduce a new level of DR training that goes beyond the introductory courses currently offered.
“DR Level 2 will be the next step,” he said. “It will be more intense, in-depth and individualized,” he said.
Whereas blue hat (unit leaders) training will still focus on people organization/management and paperwork, the DR Level 2 will prepare standard yellow hat volunteers to manage the nuts and bolts of the materials used in DR ministry.