I would like to take a moment and thank each of you for your incredible support over the last 19 months. We have heard many amazing stories and have witnessed God’s hand at work.
During that time we served over 18,000 volunteers, housing 10,250 at Country Lake Christian Retreat. The volunteer workers were made up of teams from 92 churches that came to work on the projects one week at a time. Their faithfulness and commitment working as the body of Christ brought help, hope and healing to the lives of hundreds of Hoosier Families. They are true heroes giving up personal, family, and vacation time for the sake of the call.
Snapshot of the Recovery:
March 2nd two EF-4 tornadoes hit Southern Indiana, covering 49 miles from Pekin to Borden (Daisy Hill), Henryville, Marysville, and across the Ohio Stateline with Daisy Hill, Henryville and Marysville taking the brunt of the storm. Eleven lives were lost and over 1500 families were impacted.
Steve Cain and I were asked to oversee Volunteer Services on behalf of the Indiana VOAD and the State of Indiana. And, Chris Gilbert played a vital role at the State Emergency Operations Center.
Clean up began quickly as volunteer organizations came from all over the country.
A long-term recovery group was established, however; it wasn’t long after, it became clear that there were opportunist trying to ramrod and take control of the Recovery and Faith-Based agencies were sidelined.
So, in May a Faith-Based group was created, VROC (Volunteers Rebuilding Our Community). It was a collaboration of Hope Crisis Response Network, The Salvation Army, Country Lake Christian Retreat, and Indiana UMCOR.
Once VROC was established the grant money began to arrive, $783,000 was raised. These funds included a grant received by Hoosier Uplands from the State of Indiana. Separate funding for salaries for a Construction Manager and Case Manager/Volunteer Coordinator came through a grant from Indiana UMCOR, and Southeast Christian Church. In addition, The Salvation Army gifted new appliances for every new house that included a refrigerator, range, microwave, and washer and dryer. Other major donors included; Northside Christian Church, Grace Lutheran Church, Ohio Valley Presbyterian, Mt. Tabor Presbyterian, and American Commercial Lines. Additional corporate sponsors that provided substantial discounts on product and material and free labor included Benner and Company (HVAC and labor), PC Builders (building material), Fry Plumbing (plumbing supplies and labor), Home Depot (building material), Lowes (building material), and Eisenberg Foundations (foundations and labor).
We invite all to attend the dedication of our last home on Wednesday October 9th, held at 127 Village Lane, Marysville at 4:00pm. We give thanks to the Lord for His provision watching over us, as we brought Hope, Help and Healing to each family.
Many of you know that for HCRN it is all about the relationship. We aren’t here to be homebuilders; we are here to be Kingdom Builders. During this project we saw several come to Christ, many rededicate their lives to Christ, and we had the privilege to baptize new believers. And we continue to rejoice in the healing of Ruth Greenwood from cancer.
As part of relationship building we dedicated Thursday Nights as Family Night. This gave the Volunteers the opportunity to share a meal with the families they assisted during the week. The volunteers enjoyed the time of sharing and in some cases meeting “their” family for the first time, as many of the homeowners worked during the day. Thursday Night was also a time to share the word of God and to bring encouragement to the families and volunteers.
We are very thankful and could not have completed this project without the help of several individuals: Kevin Moss who did an outstanding job as construction manager overseeing all of the construction projects. Roxanne Haley, from the New Albany Salvation Army, for her incredible bookkeeping and funds management of the projects. Honnalora Hubbard, Kyla Moss, Lauren McKay for coordinating volunteers. Brenda Ooley, one of the finest advocates I have ever had the pleasure to work with. Brenda, following the Lord’s calling, joined HCRN full time in April of this year. She is the executive director of our newest project City of Hope for Kids, a children’s ministry created to assist children impacted by disaster. Pastor Jack Cormack for his leadership from our Presbyterian Partnership. And last but not least, my good friend Jim Byerly, the interim chair of Indiana UMCOR; for his faithfulness, encouragement, and help in the funding of VROC.
Total Dollars Raised: $783,000 Total Dollars Spent: $698,000
Volunteers Served: 18,000 + Volunteers Housed: 10,234
Volunteer Hours: 141,621 In-Kind Volunteer Labor: $3,135,488
Number of States Represented: 28 Number of Church Partners: 92
Number of Corporate Partners: 8 FEMA Registrations: 1344
Properties Cleaned/Cleared: 817 Minor Repairs: 194
Major Repairs: 62 Rehabs: 8
New Builds: 17 Total Projects: 281
It was the consensus of the VROC partners that the remaining balance of funds be placed in an escrow account for 18 months to assist our current client list with any unforeseen unmet needs that may arise. At the end of the 18 months the funds will be transferred to a Salvation Army Disaster account earmarked for Southern Indiana.
As I bring this letter to a close, I want to give God alone the glory for all He allowed us to accomplish in His name. I pray the Lord will bless each of you and if the need arises, I hope we have the opportunity to do the Lord’s work together again down the road. Until then, keep Him first in all that you do.