A team of South Carolina Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers traveled on June 5 to Colorado to serve in fire recovery work from last fall’s wildfires. They are hard at work this week doing “ash-out” in homes destroyed by the fires.
The fire recovery was delayed by snowfall last year, which halted all work until the snow melted in late spring. Colorado DR sent in assessors to prepare the way, and our SC team is the first Southern Baptist DR ash-out team to go into the burned-out area.
Of the 17 volunteers making up the SC team, seven are newly trained volunteers on their first deployment. Five of those are college students and two are staff members of New Prospect Baptist Church in Anderson, SC. The other ten are experienced volunteers from across the state, including four who are serving as the cooking team on the trip.
After flying into Denver, the team drove 85 miles northwest through the mountains to the fire area near the town of Granby. They are staying in a cabin at a YMCA camp, where the cooks on the team are preparing their meals while the others are doing the ash-out work.
The work consists of separating the metal pieces out of the ash debris so it can be properly disposed of, sifting through the ashes to search for valuables, cutting up fallen burnt trees, and running skid steers to move debris.
As they were working at one house, the team was able to meet and spend time with the homeowners, a retired military couple. They heard the couple’s story of the harrowing days when the fire came through and they lost everything. The homeowners expressed great appreciation for all the help the team was giving. On finishing their work, the team gathered to include the couple in a circle of prayer.
The SC team will be followed in Colorado by ash-out teams from other states, continuing to serve the survivors of the wildfire disaster as the “hands and feet of Jesus.”