QUAPAW—Following April 27 tornadoes that caused death and destruction in Northeast Oklahoma and Arkansas, Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma’s (BGCO) trained disaster relief volunteers were at work, assessing damage and finding ways to serve.

“Our hearts are heavy for those who lost loved ones in the tornado,” said Sam Porter, director of disaster relief for the BGCO. “Our trained volunteer teams will work in Quapaw and other areas of need. Thanks to our Rapid Response Assessment teams, we had key information about damage within hours of the storm.”

“We had dozens of volunteers on site in Quapaw, including four chain saw teams, a feeding team, temporary-roofing teams and four chaplains, who also served as assessors,” added Porter.

A feeding unit made up of 11 volunteers from Bartlesville was dispatched to Quapaw April 28-29, and served a total of 1,000 meals during the lunch and dinner hours those two days, said Blue Cap Robert Wadsworth, who added that the team worked closely with the Quapaw Tribe and served meals at the Quapaw Cultural Center.

A house is left flattened by the tornado in Quapaw.

A house is left flattened by the tornado in Quapaw.

“It was a great experience working with them,” Wadsworth said. “People were helping one another. The town turned out, and I think they’ll be back on track pretty soon.”

Four chain saw and recovery teams consisting of a total of 16 volunteers from Bartlesville, Broken Arrow and Grove were activated and worked in the Quapaw area on Mon., April 28, putting tarps on damaged roofs and helping remove debris from approximately 20 homes, reported Blue Cap Keith Lozier from Grove. Lozier’s team spent virtually the entire day repairing the roof of Quapaw, First, which suffered heavy damage.

“There actually were people in the church when the tornado hit,” Wadsworth said.

Chaplain Larry Moore from Grove helped coordinate the response. He said the Quapaw Tribe, BGCO disaster relief and Red Cross worked “like a well-oiled machine” during the response. “

The BGCO’s disaster relief operation, which relies on charitable donations, provides multiple relief functions in the wake of disasters. For more information, or to make a donation, visit www.okdisasterhelp.com.