Lufkin volunteers on standby for Joplin disaster

Jeff Robinson helps lead the Southern Baptist Convention's Disaster Relief efforts.
Jeff Robinson helps lead the Southern Baptist Convention's Disaster Relief efforts.

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Monday Lufkin volunteers were on standby, waiting to respond to the single deadliest tornado on record.

In Joplin, Missouri crews are already on the ground are searching for survivors. At least 116 are dead.

Sunday's tornado wiped out entire, neighborhoods, piled up cars, knocked out schools and one of the city's two hospitals.

Before any help is dispatched from East Texas, the Red Cross is first determining what kind of help those in Joplin need.

"We've got our list of stuff that we're going to throw in a bag if somebody calls us," said Red Cross Volunteer Dale Slagle.

On Friday, we talked to Dale and Lynda Slagle after they returned from volunteering in Alabama at the largest disaster the American Red Cross had ever seen.

Monday morning, they were back at the Lufkin Red Cross office ready to tackle the remains of the single deadliest tornado on record.

"The Slagles came in this morning wanting to know if they could go to Missouri," said Glenna Harkness, branch manager of the Deep East Texas Branch of the American Red Cross. "They want to help out, they want to do their part."

Harkness said the retired registered nurses would be helpful since one Missouri hospital is asking for nurses.

However, feeding people or working at a distribution center are also options.

The Lufkin Emergency Response Vehicle just got back from Alabama late Saturday night. Monday morning Red Cross workers were inspecting the unit so it would be ready to hit the road again just in case.

While the Slagles keep their calendar open, other East Texans are also eager to help.

The Southern Baptist Convention's Disaster Relief mobile feeding unit is on standby for Joplin.

"I just talked to our state director and it's a mess," said Southside Baptist Church Pastor Jeff Robinson. "They're not letting anybody in, they're still doing search and rescue and so as soon as search and rescue is over, we could be deployed or of course another unit could be deployed, but we're ready to go."

While Robinson waits on the go-ahead, the Slagles wait to hear from the Red Cross national office.

"Just that our hearts are out to them," said Slagle. "We know that there's going to be a lot of heartbreak and crying and wondering what am I going to do next and wondering what am I going to do now much less next."

In just hours help can be on the way from Lufkin.

Robinson said they're $2,000 short of buying a back-up skillet for their feeding unit. If you can help, send donations marked disaster relief to Southside Baptist Church.

If you're interested in volunteering or donating to the American Red Cross disaster relief efforts, contact your local Red Cross office.

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