Disaster Relief: Revived and Thriving in Florida’s Panhandle

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Peggy Martin
Peggy Martin, Panama City FBC, served with the Shower and Laundry Units.

Pictured Above: Scott Pless, St. Andrew Baptist, serving with the Feeding Unit.

There’s been a revival of sorts in Northwest Coast Baptist Association­. It’s a revival of new Florida Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers who delivered help, healing and hope to Floridians impacted by Hurricane Ian.

Once a thriving area for sending out FLDR volunteers, the Northwest Coast Baptist Association disaster relief volunteer base had dwindled, going from more than 30 volunteers in 2013 to zero in 2021.

Then, in 2022, the revival began. The number of disaster relief volunteers rallied, with 12 volunteers becoming credentialed and 22 volunteers responding after Hurricane Ian.

Saint Andrew Baptist Church in Panama City led the way with nine volunteers sent to help in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian.

Steve Sweeny, John Trevillian
Steve Sweeny, Lynn Haven FBC and John Trevillian, Carlisle Baptist, delivered and set up the shower unit from NWCBA and did other Logistics work while at Murdock BC.

Andy Skates, a member of St. Andrew Baptist Church, stepped up in 2022 to revive the disaster relief ministry. After recruiting interested church members, he sought the insights of Mike Harris, an experienced clean up and recovery disaster relief volunteer from First Baptist Church of Panama City, and Jennie London, a volunteer on mission from Northwest Coast Baptist Association.

After Hurricane Ian’s devastating landfall on the southwest coast of Florida in late September, a disaster relief team, including volunteers from six churches in Northwest Coast Association, responded by taking God’s love to those impacted by the storm’s fury. The churches represented were: Carlisle Baptist Church, Hiland Park Baptist Church, Immanuel Baptist Church, First Baptist Church of Lynn Haven, First Baptist Church of Panama City, and St. Andrew Baptist Church.

Two additional volunteers also joined in the relief efforts:  Earl Singleton Jr., a member of Lake Ellen Baptist Church in Crawfordville from Florida Baptist Association, and Walter Glenn, a former member of New Bethel Missionary Baptist Church in Panama City.

Glenn relocated to California years ago and is a credentialed volunteer with  California Southern Baptist Disaster Relief. However, he has returned to the Sunshine State to serve with five Florida Baptist Disaster Relief teams from 2018 to 2022, including after Hurricane Ian.

“It has always been an honor to serve with the members of FLDR. The missionary workers and mission are close to my heart,” said Glenn.

‘We praise the Lord for what He has done in calling forth more volunteers who will respond when needed, and we pray He will continue to do so, all glory to God.’

Jennie London Northwest Coast Baptist Association

London is excited about the renewed interest and involvement with FLDR in Northwest Coast Baptist Association.

“It is truly God’s answer to many prayers,” said London. “We praise the Lord for what He has done in calling forth more volunteers who will respond when needed, and we pray He will continue to do so, all glory to God.”

For individuals interested in becoming credentialed as disaster relief volunteers, six FLDR training events are scheduled this spring.

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