As many as 20 Kentucky Disaster Relief team members will be spending the Fourth of July holiday helping flood victims along the Mississippi River in Illinois.
It’s all part of the ministry that not only brings physical but spiritual relief to victims.
Dave Hampton of Corbin joins Bruce Bayes of Flatwoods as the Blue Hats for the large Kentucky team that will be taking two trailers of supplies.
“We’ll divide up into two or three teams and get as much done as possible,” said Hampton, who has been doing disaster relief work since 2011.
Hampton and Bayes will contact the White Hat or commander in Illinois to find out where the team will be staying and other particulars about what they need to accomplish while there. They are leaving Friday and won’t return until July 7.
“That’s what we’re called to do,” said Bayes. “Disasters have no timeframes. I’ve been out in Thanksgiving, and grandchildren’s performances but we’re there for the help, healing and hope.”
Of course, besides putting the flood victims back in their homes, the opportunity to have gospel conversations comes almost daily, Hampton said.
“We try to create as many conversations as we can,” he said. “That’s the reason we’re going.”
Flash flooding has been part of an unseasonably wet weather season in the Midwest. The Kentucky DR team will be traveling to East Moline, Illinois, which has been slammed with flooding from the Mississippi River.
As of 3 p.m. Wednesday, the Mississippi River was at 22.29 feet and expected to crest at 22.4 feet Thursday morning, just below the record 22.6 feet of the 1993 crest, according to the National Weather Service. The flood stage is 15 feet.
Several have evacuated and others have been rescured from their homes because of rising water.
“We never know what to expect but try to get a good idea before leaving,” Hampton said.
It’s not typical to have a week’s notice on leaving, he said. “This is a luxury. We went to Dayton (Ohio) three weeks ago. I got called at 10:30 and left right then.”
Coy Webb, the director of the Kentucky Disaster Relief, sends out notices as soon as he receives requests for aid. Teams usually come together quickly in the well-organized Kentucky DR.
Bayes finds much fulfillment from being able to help those in difficult situations and share the gospel whenever he can. “Within the first three days at Beavercreek (Ohio), we had three salvations occur,” he said.
Bayes takes on about four or five Disaster Relief assignments a year, he said.
However, in 2016, one of those assignments lasted 26 weeks – half the year. “Two weeks later I was in Gatlinburg (Tennessee) for the fire,” he said.