Nearly 10,000 volunteers from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, including a Richmond Hill teen, have served Hurricane Ian survivors in Florida during the Church’s last five weeks of relief efforts.
In their trademark yellow shirts and vests, volunteers cleared debris, removed fallen trees and branches, and removed drywall, flooring, appliances, and tarped roofs. Among them were 68 volunteers from the Coastal Empire who provided 1,200 service hours.
Skyler Fuller, a 16-year-old volunteer from Richmond Hill, said of the experience, “I came home sleep deprived, sore, covered in scratches, and smelly, but I would completely do it again. We pulled up to a house, and the front looked fine. We went to the backyard, and there were huge trees down everywhere. We were able to make a big difference. And that difference meant a lot to one family, and I’m so happy to be a part of that.”
“Just as our Savior, Jesus Christ, lived to serve, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints follow His admonition to serve our neighbors. Our hearts go out to those who lost their possessions, homes, or even family members and friends,” stated President Darron R. Alvord, regional faith leader for The Church of Jesus Christ in Savannah.
“We met the homeowners and shared our concern for them. We offered them a hygiene kit and a box of food. And then, we worked hand-in-hand with them to clean up their properties so they could begin the arduous process of putting their lives back together,” said R. Cameron Cowart, a disaster relief volunteer with the Church.
“One couple we helped were so happy for our help that prior to leaving, the woman of the home asked if she could say a prayer with all of us. It was one of the most genuine heartfelt prayers I have ever heard. She expressed immense gratitude to God for sending us to her home, ‘God’s servants in the yellow shirts’, and prayed that we would be able to continue on doing His work helping others. She hugged each of us in our group and the man shook each of our hands before leaving. I know that on that sabbath day that sermons on Christ were lived and not just spoken. ”
In total, 5,440 work orders (1 order = 1 home or house of worship) have been completed by the disaster relief crew over 207,343 work hours.
Equipment, including chainsaws, hand trucks, debris sleds, wheelbarrows, tarps and other needed supplies for volunteers and water and food for residents, arrived in 13 semi-truck shipments to Church disaster relief command centers from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' global humanitarian relief program.
Since 1998, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has served people around the globe whose lives have been affected by natural disasters and other emergencies. Thousands of volunteers from the Church have assisted residents with cleanup after Hurricanes Katrina, Ike, Gustav, Isaac, Matthew, Michael, Charley, Florence, Laura, Ida, and many others.