Janesville70.2°

Baptist men build local disaster relief team

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ROCHELLE B. BIRKELO
May 9, 2011
— The next time Mother Nature unleashes violent winds, members of a new disaster relief team will be ready to respond.

The group of about a half-dozen men includes members of First Baptist Church, 3441 Woodhall Drive, and is part of the American Baptist Men’s Disaster Relief Team. Based in West Virginia, the national organization has 15 other teams throughout the country.


“We’re the first ones to form a team in Wisconsin,’’ said Ron Westby, a member of First Baptist Church in Janesville.


He is organizing the local group with the help of four other guys.


“We’re out to get volunteers and contributions,’’ Westby said.


The team is outfitting a trailer with shelves, lighting and holders for equipment such as rakes and shovels donated by its volunteers, he said.


The 16-foot trailer will be equipped for tree removal and light repairs. It cost $4,000 and was paid for with donations from Baptist churches and men’s Baptist groups throughout Wisconsin, Westby said.


Westby, a retired Milton electrician, said he and others got excited about the disaster relief team concept during a men’s Baptist retreat in April. They watched a demonstration by a group of Illinois men who are part of a Baptist disaster relief team there.


“So, we decided to form our own team here,’’ he said.


TO HELP

To donate or volunteer with the American Baptist Men’s Disaster Relief Team, call Ron Westby at (608) 290-3254 or contact First Baptist Church, 3414 Woodhall Drive, Janesville, at (608) 752-8151.


People who need help with their property after a tornado should call Rock County’s Emergency Management office at (608) 758-8440, and officials will notify the local American Baptist Men’s Disaster Relief Team.


Churches that need help, especially Baptist churches, should contact the new disaster relief team through First Baptist Church, (608) 752-8151.



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