Photo Courtesy Mike Hewitt
Photo Courtesy Johnny Rodman
Photo Courtesy Johnny Rodman
Johnny Rodman, member of Oasis Church, in Portland, Tennessee, was shocked at the immense destruction that surrounded him. He had just come from helping in Bowling Green, Kentucky, after a series of tornadoes swept through Kentucky and Tennessee on the night of December 10, 2021, and morning of December 11. Now, he stood in Mayfield, Kentucky, where extensive devastation left a community wondering how they would recover.
Rodman knew he had to get started right away. Along with other volunteers, they set up a donation center and handed out supplies such as water, food, wipes, diapers, and baby formula. Throughout the following week, Rodman also led a team that helped pick up debris, install generators, box up windows, and tarp roofs. Overall, the group of volunteers helped more than 45 homes.
“While we were there, we were doing what I call ‘putting on a band-aid,’” Rodman, who has volunteered in six other disaster relief efforts, said. “Eventually, the goal is switching from a band-aid to actually fixing the wound.”
The Kentucky-Tennessee Conference also took an active role in aiding the affected communities. Through the donations of churches, members, and ministries from across the country, Kentucky-Tennessee was able to provide meals for volunteers, and tools for cleanup and reparation.
As of January 4, 2022, the Conference had raised more than $43,000 with the help of more than 75 donors. According to Mike Hewitt, vice president for administration, most of the funds will eventually go to the affected families as they begin the recovery process.
“In the long term, we’ll be looking for families that need our help the most to basically get their life back together,” Hewitt said. “What’s needed the most right now is financial contributions, because the healing process will be long.”
Kentucky-Tennessee did not work alone. They received outpouring support of volunteers from other conferences. Jim Ingersoll, member at Collegedale Community, Tennessee, Church, was one of the first individuals to go. Ingersoll is the program director of 2Serve, a disaster training and response team.
Like Rodman, Ingersoll, along with more than 100 2Serve volunteers, helped set up a Point of Distribution (POD) and helped in the construction and clean-up efforts. In addition, the group offered prayers and distributed pieces of literature such as Steps to Christ.
“We didn’t just help them right here and now,” Ingersoll said. “We brought hope with us and a reminder that there’s more than what this world has to offer.” Both Ingersoll and Rodman hope to return and help the community of Mayfield in the coming months.
“My biggest take away is that God wants us to be His hands and feet,” Rodman said. “There is no reason for people to feel alone in this disaster … there’s nothing like helping one another in a time of need.”
To make a monetary donation, all funds proceeding to the tornado relief efforts, visit the Conference’s Online Giving page and make a contribution under “KYTN Disaster Relief.”
Kentucky-Tennessee | February 2022