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Chainsaw Team Volunteers After Storm

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In the wake of last month’s ice storm, the spirit of volunteerism has been seen all over the Sioux Empire. One month later, that really hasn’t changed.

Though the storm was so many different ways, the recovery process has brought the best out of the community as people help one another.

The people of Cross Pointe Baptist Church were no exception, and they knew just the people to call for help.

“They put the word out, and thirteen of us responded. We came in last Monday and we’ll be leaving tomorrow, on Saturday,” says Phil Gaddis of Winona, Minnesota.

In just a few short days, the group of volunteers has completed 28 different jobs all over the Sioux Empire; but that’s not the only thing that makes them unique.

“They go through specialized training with chainsaws and anyone on the team that hasn’t had that training is not authorized to operate the chainsaws,” says Gaddis.

They’re part of the Minnesota-Wisconsin Baptist Convention’s Disaster Relief Team. Each one of them took a week off from their routine schedule to help others. The chainsaws and other equipment used at their work sites were their own or donated to the convention.

“Fortunately, one of our volunteers brought his little Mustang skid loader with him,” says Gaddis.

Although they’ve specialized in clearing trees and branches after natural disasters, getting the jobs done is only part of what they do.

“The main reason we’re here is to minister to the needs of people,” says Gaddis.

That’s exactly what they’ve done for Lester Larson whose property on North Bahnson Avenue was littered with debris after the storm. For him, their helpful hands have changed his life in a way he never expected.

“God has helped us all. He’s bringing us together to do this work. All these people have prayed with us and we pray together,” says Larson.

After the job was done, Larson and the volunteers say they hope to keep in touch.

The disaster relief team not only has teams who are specialized in using chainsaws. They also have mud-out crews who respond to floods and feeding units for other natural disasters.
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