Disaster Response Coordinator Gary Haddock visits western Montana

Disaster Response Coordinator Gary Haddock visits western Montana

Disaster Response Coordinator Gary Haddock visits western Montana

From Aug. 10 to 12, Mountain Sky Area Disaster Response Coordinator Rev. Gary Haddock visited pastors and churches in western Montana to assess their situations and address immediate needs from the ongoing wildfires. Below is his report:

I have spent the last two days around the Missoula area talking to pastors and churches in the area being affected by the fires. I started by talking to Debbi Wacker in Corvallis and meeting with others from the area. I talked to the leader of a group trying to start a Ravalli County VOAD and another from the area. They felt the real need was for masks so Corvallis will purchase some, and if they need more they will let me know. They have no fires in their county but some are right around them.

The next morning I visited with Stacey and Waveland King and members of Superior and Alberton UMCs about their needs. Sunrise Fire is between them near the town of Lozeau, Montana, and there is lots of smoke. They will connect with the Office of Emergency Management and other agencies about what they are doing.

I talked to Todd Scranton from Grace UMC in Missoula at the Missoula County Fair where they had two booths with First UMC. I left copies from the Rocky Mountain Conference Disaster Response Plan that had to do with local churches and pastors so they might know what they are capable of doing. I talked briefly about the importance of the circuit leading the response for disaster planning in the future.

At each place I emphasized that UMCOR offers: prayers, kits (health, clean-up, school, etc.), Early Response Teams (ERT), money/vendor cards, case management, UMVIM teams, volunteers, shelters and Connecting Neighbors. If they're going to give out vendor cards, they need to look at: primary homeowners, local residents, fire-related damage, lower more than higher income (but not exclusive) and keeping records (of what, how many, amounts, needs for cards and assistance).

In addition to meeting clergy, Gary said he connected with the following pastors either by email or phone: John Daniels at Missoula First UMC, Charles Alkula at Stevensville UMC, Derf Bergman at Mission Valley UMC, and Sally Ralston at Drummond and Hall UMCs.

Mike Moore, Rocky Mountain Conference Disaster Resiliency Program Coordinator, will be visiting eastern Montana next week and work with Rev. Vicki Waddington on helping that area with fire recovery.

As wildfires continue to burn around the state of Montana, the Yellowstone Conference has a Disaster Relief Fund ready to assist affected local communities. To give to this fund, go to www.yacumc.org/donate. There is a drop-down menu to specify your donation to "Yellowstone Conference Disaster Relief."

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