Relief teams helping those affected by Autauga County tornado

Relief teams from the Autauga Baptist Association have been helping those affected by the...
Relief teams from the Autauga Baptist Association have been helping those affected by the tornado.(Source: WSFA 12 News)
Published: Jan. 20, 2023 at 5:44 PM CST
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AUTAUGA COUNTY, Ala. (WSFA) - The cleanup efforts continue in Autauga County where an EF3 tornado tore through the area, killing seven people and destroying hundreds of homes. Alabama Baptist Disaster Relief has had boots on the ground for over a week helping those in need.

Mel Johnson is a disaster relief strategist who has called Autauga County home for more than 16 years. He said, “To see family and friends that have been impacted as a result of the crisis, it just brings it all home.”

As a mission strategist for Autauga Baptist Association disaster relief, Johnson has worked hundreds of disasters. This one, though, hits differently.

“We’re closely connected with emergency management, the sheriff’s department and first responders, and we had got a phone call immediately, just moments after the tornado passed through, asking that we help extricate and help first responders cut their way in to help homeowners,” he said.

Alabama Baptist relief teams have been aiding residents any way they can since the tornado swept through the area, but that’s not all.

“The very next day, we had assessors, trained assessors out going door to door, along with chainsaw crews,” Johnson said. “Many of our churches set up for feeding operations. We have trained OSFA operational stress first aid chaplains that can assist homeowners in beginning that recovery process.”

Johnson said they will be in the community for as long as it takes.

“Our Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions is working with emergency management and FEMA to set up a site at our Disaster Relief Center here in the Prattville area. And so we’re grateful because we’re going to be able to assist homeowners with the long-term recovery process,” he said.

He said he is proud to of the outpouring of support to help all of those who have suffered great loss.

“I’m so thankful to be a part of a community that is willing to turn out and help regardless of the cost,” said Johnson.

All assistance provided by Alabama Baptist Disaster Relief is free to residents. Click here if you would like to donate or volunteer.

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