May Tornado Information - UMCOR

Current information & how to help those in need can be found on the UMCOR website:

May Tornado Information - North Alabama ERT Call

May 6, 2014

The North Alabama Conference is in need of ERTs from outside of North Alabama to help respond to the disaster areas caused by the recent storms and tornadoes within the conference.

To register your team:

Please also click here for forms that need to be completed by your team or go to:

Once you register, someone from the disaster response team will be in touch with you.  Please wait to hear from someone with the North Alabama Disaster Response Team before you deploy.  All outside conference ERTs must have a valid and up-to-date UMCOR-issued ERT badge.

- Matt
Rev. Matt Lacey, Director of Mission and Advocacy

Flooding in Hays, Bastrop and Traves Counties

October 31, 2013

        Serious flooding has occurred in Hays, Travis and Bastrop Counties and the Conference Disaster Response Committee has begun to respond.   Flood buckets from the Martinez Disaster Response Warehouse will be delivered to the Wimberley UMC on November 1 for distribution in Hayes County.   Additional kits will be delivered to other areas as needed.   Emmett Eary, Austin District Disaster Response Coordinator, is monitoring the situation and will work with Conference leadership to take additional steps as needs are assessed.  


        Early Response Teams are asked to be on stand-by so they can be deployed when needed.  Teams could be asked to deploy as early as Saturday November 2.  

Flooding in SouhTexas

October 14, 2013

Flooding has occurred in Crystal City and other locations in South Texas but the extent of damage and its impact on families in the area has not yet been determined.   Eugene Hileman, Conference DRC will take a load of cleaning kits from the warehouse to the area early Tuesday and will determine what other response may be necessary.   Early Response Teams are being notified that a call for ERT deployment may be made in a few days.    

People in the area are asked to call Eugene Hileman (210-557-8698) or George Barnette, Kerrville District Disaster Response Coordinator (830-868-0808), to report on the situation.      

Work teams are needed for the recovery in Eagle Pass

           Teams wishing to assist in the recovery effort in Eagle Pass following the spring 2013 flooding should register online.   You will then be contacted to make final arrangements.   Housing and cooking accommodations are limited but the volunteer coordinator will work with groups to help you meet your needs.

     CLICK HERE to register your team.    

Chain Saw Team Training November 9, 2013

Training is scheduled for November 9th at Mount Wesley in Kerrville.

Chain Saw training is an advanced training for Early Response Team members. A special credential will be issued by the Conference Disaster Response Committee to participants who successfully complete the training,. At its meeting late last year, the CDRC established protocols to guide the new addition to the disaster response effort of the Conference (see below).

Those interested in registering may register online at Participants will be expected to purchase steel toed shoes, approved gloves and a helmet. The Conference will purchase chaps as well as saws and other equipment. Registration is open but priority will be given to those who have current ERT credentials. Those with out-of-date credentials or who have not yet taken ERT training will be accepted on a space available basis but will not receive chain saw credentials until they receive current ERT Credentials issued by UMCOR.   

Southwest Texas Conference
Chain Saw Protocols

Chain Saw Certification is done by the Southwest Texas Conference which will issue badges. The following protocols are established relative to chain saw operation by Early Response Teams.

1. Only certified chain saw operators may operate chain saws.
2. A current ERT Badge is required in order to be certified as a chain saw operator.
3. Chain saw operators must be at least 18 years old. (This is the minimum age for ERT members.)
4. Chain saw operators must complete the two day chain saw training including the following elements:
    a. Classroom instruction in chain saw safety, maintenance, operation and cutting procedures.
    b. Field demonstrations of chainsaw operation and cutting procedures by qualified instructors.
    c. Hands on instruction for volunteers in chainsaw operation and cutting procedures.
5. Operators must use all personal protective equipment including helmet, ear protection, eye protection, steel toed shoes, protective chaps, and approved gloves when operating a chain saw.
6. Only Conference owned or approved chain saws may be used.
7. A Permission to Enter Property and Liability Waiver must be signed by the property owner before a chain saw crew can work on a site.
8. Each chain saw operator must sign a Liability Waiver before deploying on a chain saw team.
9. Each chain saw crew must have a designated safety officer who will monitor safety procedures on the work site.
10. Chain saw crews must abide by all ERT protocols adopted by the Conference Disaster Response Committee. 

Early Response Teams needed in Eagle Pass

June 24, 2013
Early Response Teams are now being deployed in Eagle Pass. The first UMC of Eagle Pass will be available for housing. Interested ERT members should contact Eugene Hileman. ( or 210-557-8698). The number of homes affected has been estimated at 574. Very few clean up teams have been working so the need is critical.

Case Management Volunteers to be trained by UMCOR (July 9 and 10)

June 23, 2013

The Long Term Recovery Committee (LTRC) in San Antonio is seeking individuals to be trained to assist survivors of recent floods as they rebuild their lives.   Case Management training is being offered on July 9 and 10 for volunteers who are willing to work with families needing assistance.  

Volunteers are needed who can devote6 to 8 hours per week for the next several months.   Education and/or experience in social service organizations are desirable but not required.   Persons volunteering should have compassion to help vulnerable survivors of disasters.   They will work under the direction of a case management super visor who will report to the director of the LTRC.

Training will be offered by UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief).   UMCOR is recognized as one of the foremost Case Management training organizations. UMCOR Basic Case Management Training prepares caring people to help vulnerable individuals and families “adjust to their new normal” after a devastating disaster. Basic Case Management Training is a two-day (14-hour), in-depth course designed to:

• Help you identify and address survivors’ strengths and unmet recovery needs;

• Provide you with the skills, knowledge, and tools to link survivors with needed resources for recovery; and

• Prepare you for your role in restoring hope, rebuilding lives, and re-establishing homes.

The training will be held at the Emergency Operations Center, 8130 Inner Circle Dr., San Antonio, TX 


Interested persons should address questions to:

A. Eugene Hileman

Disaster Response Coordinator

Southwest Texas Conference

United Methodist Church

Flooding in Eagle Pass

June 16, 2013
Flooding in Eagle Pass has impacted numerous families.  The situation is presently being evaluated by Kerrville District Disaster Response Coordinator George Barnette.  Early Response Teams are asked to be ready to respond in the near future but a call for deplyment has not been issued at the present time.

San Antonio Flood Update

May 31, 2013
Fifteen ERT volunteers worked today. They finished one house and made good progress on another. The team from Grace UMC completed the three day stay and returned home this evening.

Many home owners were waiting on their insurance companies before they were cleared to do work. Several were cleared today so we expect additional requests for help.

We hope to have a large number fo volunteers on Saturday.  Here is the plan.

Time:   We will meet at the Mission Espada visitor parking lot at 8:30 A.M.   (Let me know if you cannot make it that early and we will meet you later.)

Work:   We will be cleaning out houses that were damaged in the flood.   This may involve removing furniture and other items, cutting drywall, removing floors, power washing, treating for mold removal, etc.

Tools:   Suggest tools include pry bar, tape measure, flat nosed shovel, wheel barrow, dolly, hammer, power screw driver and others that come to mind or that you have used in the past. Do not go out and buy tools.   Bring what you have but you do not have to furnish your own tools. 

Location:   Mission Espada is located south of I 410 south.   If you come via I 37 exit on to I 410 heading west and take the second exit (exit 44).   Take the first right off of the service road and turn back across I 410.   Mission Espada will be less than a mile. 



May 30, 2013

Excellent progress has been made the first two days but work is slow.  The team from Grace (Robstown) worked two days on one home and will move to a second today.   They will not complete it before their three day limit is reached this evening.   A second team has worked two days on a small home and will complete it today.   A third team has worked on several homes with clean out but have not removed the wet drywall.  


A total of 38 homes are affected in the area we are working.   Not all will need help but many more do.  


Let’s put a big push on this Saturday.  We could make a lot of progress if we could put several teams on different homes.  A number of families have been waiting for insurance adjusters and they should be cleared by Saturday.  


Please try to help.   Let me know you will be here.   We can accommodate individuals, small groups or whole teams.  
May 29, 2013

Early Response Teams are assisting survivors of the recent floods in San Antonio.  A team from Grace UMC in Robstown was joined by individuals from Austin, Kerrville and San Antonio on May 28.  The two teams worked on two homes and will continue their work today.  About twenty homes need work and many more workers are needed.  


Trained ERT workers are needed badly.   Contact Eugene Hileman if you can participate.  Work will probably continue into the first week of June.
Wildfire Update (Feb. 8, 2012)

Long Term Recovery Organizations (LTRO’s) have been organized in both Bastrop and Spicewood and are moving forward to assist families as they try to gain a new sense of normal.  The task continues to be overwhelming but progress is being made.  


The Southwest Texas Conference is working on several fronts to assist in the effort.

o    We are active in the LTRC’s by offering volunteers and expertise where possible.  

o    Through the effort of the Conference, UMCOR offered Case Management courses in both Spicewood and Bastrop.   Over 40 Case Managers were trained and many are now working with families.

o    We have made a few small grants to meet unmet needs that were identified by Case Managers.  


One of the most important areas is our work with the ecumenical Faith Village Volunteer Accommodation Center.  The Center, located in Smithville, will house up to 40 volunteers who come to the Bastrop area to help in construction and other recovery work.  We are providing the registration through our web site and Margery Marshall, UMVIM coordinator for the Austin District, is serving as the registrar.   UMVIM teams wishing to work in the recovery effort should register at if they need housing.   Teams who do not need housing should register at .  Margery will also assist these teams in finding work through the LTRO’s.  

Wildfire Update (September 29, 2011)
Early Response Teams (ERTs) have been responding to the Texas wildfires all week, helping clean the area of heavy debris, like appliances, metal roofs and water heaters. After debris has been cleared, team members will help homeowners sift for any valuables that might have been spared by the fire. The photo above shows ERT team members loading up a bobcat with debris from what is left of a home in Bastrop, Texas.

Already ERT trained and want to help?  Please sign up HERE

Why are ERTs important? Because team members receive special training and become certified to help in specialized areas, like what's shown in pictures and videos throughout this page (scroll down for more). Without ERT training, people cannot immediately respond to assist those in need. More than 100 people have been trained in the past two weeks (newest ERTs at First UMC, Lockhart), and more help is still needed. The next ERT training is happening Oct. 15 at Northwest Hills UMC, San Antonio. GO HERE for more information on the training and to register.

Wildfire Update (September 22, 2011)

The recent wildfires in Bastrop County destroyed as many as 1700 homes and businesses. This is a short collection of comments from some who have been impacted, GO HERE to watch the video

View photos of the recent tour by Bishop Dorff of some of the affected wildfire areas and churches that are assisting, GO HERE


The ministry of presence is needed now and in the future to support and relieve the most impacted pastors. This ministry is open to elders, deacons, local pastors, Stephen ministers, trained counselors (retired or active), etc. Call Nancy McDougall (512) 444-1983 or email to volunteer and be ‘deployed.’

Wildfire Update (September 20, 2011)

Bishop Dorff visited what was left of a home burned to the ground in Bastrop. 
Watch the video

Bishop Dorff mentions how you can send monetary donations in the video, here is that info again:

Advance #2050 Wildfire Relief
C/O UMC Treasurer
16400 Huebner Road
San Antonio, TX  78248

To download the video, go here:

Nancy McDougall works the phones coordinating relief efforts at the Austin District office
Wildfire Update (September 15, 2011)
ERT Training

The ERT training for Friday, Sept.16th is full and has been closed. **Please do not send walk ins as we are not able to accommodate them at this time.** There will be two additional training sessions: Sept. 24th at FUMC Lockhart and also on Oct. 15th at Northwest Hills UMC in San Antonio. Each session will be limited to the first 40 registrants. The Austin District office will be closed tomorrow, Friday Sept. 16th so that they can attend ERT training.  Go HERE to sign up for the next ERT Training.

FEMA Assistance

Here's the latest info from Bastrop County about how those affected by the fire can seek assistance: ASSISTANCE: 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or or dial 211 for local information and statewide public services. A FEMA Disaster Recovery Center has been established at the Bastrop High School West Campus, 1602 Hill Street, Bastrop, TX. Hours of operation are Monday-Saturday 9:00 am - 7:00 pm, Sunday 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm. 

Bee Creek UMC

With the fires still burning in Bastrop, the Spicewood fire has almost become forgotten.  Check out this story from the local cable news on how Bee Creek UMC is responding to the wildfire.  Go HERE

The ministry of presence is needed now to support and relieve the most impacted pastors. This ministry is open to elders, deacons, local pastors, Stephen ministers, trained counselors (retired or active), etc. Call Nancy McDougall (512) 444-1983 or email to volunteer and be ‘deployed.’

Wildfire Update (September 14, 2011)
FUMC Smithville

They are still gathering and distributing non-perishable food items. They are currently operating from 10 amto 6 pm daily at the Education Bldg. at 403 Olive St., Smithville TX 78957. For information, you may call the church office (Mon - Thurs from 9 - 1) at 512-237-3325.  It would be wonderful if collected food could be delivered directly to FUMC Smithville, however the Austin District Office will accept donations and deliver it in cases where that isn't possible.


Due to the overwhelming generosity of everyone, the Bastrop Distribution Center at Rundell Business Park west of town 704 Hwy
71 should be called before bringing anything. Donation Hotline 512-332-8661.

United Methodist News Service Story on the Wildfires: Money, prayer and a listening ear

Retired educator Emmett Eary is busy these days. A layperson and experienced counselor, he leads the Southwest Texas Annual (regional) Conference’s spiritual and emotional care teams.

Eary’s work involves “meeting with survivors, talking to them, listening to their stories, and showing concern and compassion for them as they work through the process of grieving the loss of their homes and their possessions.”

He is not alone in reaching out to those affected by the wildfires. People from five of the conference’s seven districts responded to the call to provide spiritual and emotional care. The United Methodist Committee on Relief trained and credentialed about 80 volunteers to provide this service and deployed 16 of them to San Antonio, Corpus Christi and Victoria.

Along with spiritual and emotional nurture, southwest Texas congregations have offered shelter to people displaced by the fires. Twenty families from First United Methodist Church in hard-hit Bastrop County lost their homes, and the congregation is responding to them.

The 245-member Smithville United Methodist Church, with five families left homeless by the inferno, is a site for dropping off and picking up non-perishables for fire survivors. On Sept. 10, said church secretary Janice Wild, “We opened our gym and activity center for all the kids who wanted to come and play.”

The Rev. Paul Harris, who serves Cedar Creek United Methodist Church, said conference emergency-response teams are helping homeowners “sift through ashes to find personal items and being in conversation with them about God’s grace.” Mostly, he explained, he listens. How can concerned United Methodists help?

“Give money through the church, pray—and please don’t send clothes,” Harris said.

Your gift to U.S. Disaster Response, UMCOR Advance #901670, will help UMCOR respond to this emergency. Earmark your check “Wildfires 2011.”

Wildfire Update (September 12, 2011)
Plans are now being made for Early Response Teams.  If you are certified in (taken the training) Early Response, please register HERE

Want to volunteer, but have not been trained?  Here are two great chances to get trained coming up:

Friday September 16 @ Northwest Hills UMC (Austin, TX)

Saturday September 24 @ Lockhart FUMC

For more information about the Early Response Training and to register, please go here

FUMC Bastrop

Every day the Methodist church is offering lunch to around 40 people, and have been doing this for over a week. They would love to have folks come, bring lunch and serve.  If you would like to help with this ministry, please contact associate pastor Cynthia Engstrom at 979-733-4027

Wildfire Update (September 10, 2011)

The fires have now been declared a national disaster, which allows FEMA to come in and provide aide.  People affected by the fire are encouraged to register with FEMA.   You are allowed to opt out later if you desire, however if you have any damage you only have 60 days to register with FEMA.  Call FEMA @ 800-621-3362

UMCOR Consultant Gordon Knuckey arrived today and toured some of the fire areas and met with our local pastors.

Here is a great update from Rachel Wright in the Austin District office:

Perhaps it is prevenient grace that we sang together "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands" at our last District Professionals meeting, and three days later we were reminded and are continually reminded of our need for that assurance.
If you have time to read this email before Sunday worship, please announce the following things:
  • thanks for ongoing generocity
  • reminder of advance special #2050 for monetary gifts
  • We have two Early Response Training events planned now.  We learned this morning that this training and credentialling through UMCOR will be mandatory for anyone wanting to serve on recovery sites.  Our first training will be this Friday, Sept.16 from 8:30-4:30. LOCATION TBA.  Next week, we will have training on Saturday, Sept. 24 from 8:30-4:30 at FUMC-Lockhart.  Details of this week's training will be finalized by early Monday afternoon and we will include them in our email update then.  More information about the content of the training is available on the conference website
Rachel Wright
Director of Congregational Excellence
Austin District UMC

Wildfire Update (September 9, 2011)

FUMC Smithville

There are two shelters set up in Smithville: The Recreation Center and First Baptist Church. They also have a distribution center set up on Main Street where people can get clothing, linens and other supplies.  At First UMC Smithville there is a distribution center for non-perishable food items.   People can also make monetary donations through UMCOR # 901670 or the Conference Advance Special #2050 please mark: Texas Wildfires

Saturday September 10th there will be a one-day camp for the children of fire victims held at FUMC Smithville. This is being sponsored and conducted by the Lutheran Church out of Houston. They will be bringing in a team of trained persons who work with children affected by such situations as we are experiencing. School-age children can be signed up by calling 608-469-0692.

More information on the FUMC Smithville website:


As of this writing, the fire is still 30% contained.   More information and resources for people affected by the fire is available at the Bastrop county website:

Spiritual and Emotional care teams are still on site at the Bastrop Convention center assisting folks as they find out if their homes have been destroyed by the fire.

Early Response Teams (ERT) 

Plans are still being put in place for these teams to be called out.   If you have been ERT trained, and want to volunteer as a team or an individual, please check back here later today to register as a volunteer.

Wildfire Update (September 8, 2011)
Bee Creek UMC

Residents affected by the Spicewood fire (6500 acres burned, 37 homes destroyed and 30 damaged) are encouraged to come to the church where the Austin Disaster Relief Network has trained FEMA volunteers to assist disaster victims with the paperwork that will need to be done. Bee Creek is also taking donations of rakes, work gloves and shovels for the cleanup that will begin next week.  Much more information on the Bee Creek UMC website:

Lake Travis UMC

Is assisting the resients affected by the Steiner Ranch fire. Contact the church for more info:

Bastrop FUMC

Rev. Andy Smith has not heard from all of the members of FUMC Bastrop and asks members that have not contacted the church to please get in touch and let them know your situation. So far 19 members have lost their homes to the fire. The warehouse in Bastrop that is collecting donated supplies is almost full with water, clothing and other materials.  No more water or used clothing is needed at this time; however new socks & underware have been requested.  Also with school resuming Monday, there will be a great need for school supplies/backpacks because most folks had less than 20 minutes to evacuate their homes before the fire.  Contact Bastrop ISD to donate

Other needs are hard to assess at this point because the fire is still burning, it will be a while before the scope of this disaster is known.

Bastrop Convention Center is where the UMC SWTX conference disaster response Spiritual & Emotional care teams are being deployed to assist the victims of the fire.  The convention center is the location where official lists are being posted for the residents that give the addresses of the homes destroyed by the fire so far.  If you have been trained in Emotional & Spirtual care please contact Emmet Eary (512) 251-2145 or to volunteer.
Cedar Creek UMC

Was effected by the Union Chapel 1,000 acre fire.  10 familes from Cedar Creek UMC have had their homes destroyed.  Tonight they are asembling burn buckets to assist with cleanup efforts.  Other members are assisting the first responders with water and food at the Bastrop Highschool football stadium where all fire crews are being staged.

 UMC Austin District office is coordinating donation and relief efforts, they are also posting updates on thier Facebook page, GO HERE

If you have information you want to share, please contact Thomas Monahan at

Wildfire Update (September 7, 2011)

Bishop Dorff responds to the wildfires:

"The central Texas fires have been devastating to several of our communities and church families. The communities of Bastrop, Spicewood, Cedar Creek, and the Steiner housing development in Austin have been particularly devastated. We are deeply grateful for the prayers and other expressions of support. Our churches and pastors are hard at work providing shelter and support for those left homeless. Our God is present in these communities and renewal will occur."

If you would like to make a donation to UMCOR please use

advance number 901670 and mark: Texas Wildfires

Other ways to help:

General volunteers are needed at Bee Creek United Methodist Church, one of the official assistance centers for fire evacuees at Spicewood. Jobs include taking evacuees shopping, record entry ect. 

If you can go, the church is at 3000 Bee Creek Rd in Spicewood. (512-264-2225) Call ahead if you wish, or just show up.

Wildfire Update (September 6, 2011)

         Emmett Eary, Disaster Response Coordinator for the Austin district and Eugene Hileman Conference Disaster Response Coordinator spent the day in the Bastrop area.  The situation is very bad.   Numerous people who have lost their homes and many others have been evacuated and cannot find out whether or not their home has been lost.  The fire continues to spread in spite of the commitment of large amounts of people and equipment to bring it under control.  

        United Metodist chruches in Bastrop and Cedar Creek have been opened as shelters for evacuees. 

         The Conference will deploy a Spiritual and Emotional Care Team on Tuesday September 6.  The team will continue to work in the area as long as it is needed. 

        Early Response Teams are not needed at this time and the number of general volunteers appears to be fully sufficient to meet the demand.  

How can I help?

Persons wishing to make a gift to assist survivors of the fires are encouraged to send their gifts to the Treasurer, Southwest Texas Conference, 16400 Huebner Ave., San Antonio, TX 78248 and designate it for wildfire assistance and/or advance #2050

  The supply of gifts such as food and clothing seems adequate to meet the demand at the present time.  We will continue to monitor the situation and update this announcement if items are needed in coming days.   

Additional Information

Click here for the latest information from the Texas Division of Emergency Management



The fastest and easiest way to support the efforts of the United Methodist Church in responding to the devastation caused by the tornadoes in Alabama, Missouri and elsewhere, and the floods in the Mississippi valley is with monetary gifts to UMCOR.   They have established an advance titled “U. S. Spring Storms 2011” advance number 3021326.    For more information go to 

Remember, 100 percent of your gift goes directly to support the relief of people hurt by the floods and tornados you have heard about in, almost daily, news accounts of the different disasters that have hit our brothers and sisters this spring.      


        Cleaning Buckets are urgently needed to assist families in the clean up effort following the floods and tornados.   In addition, the supply in the Martinez Disaster Response Warehouse is nearly depleted.   Churches and groups wishing to assemble cleaning buckets are urged to respond to this important need.   

      Buckets can be delivered to the warehouse at Mount Wesley in Kerrville when compled. Please call Eugene Hileman at 210-557-8698 in advance to make arrangements.   Special arrangements have been made to pick up buckets and other kits at the 2011 Annual Conference in Corpus Christi.     

Cleaning Bucket Assembly 

These supplies enable people to begin the overwhelming job of cleaning up after disaster strikes.

Cleaning Bucket Kit Items
$55 per bucket.
  • 5-gallon bucket with resealable lid
    Buckets from fast food restaurants or bakeries can be used if washed and cleaned.
    Do not use buckets that have stored chemicals such as paint or pool cleaner.
    Advertisements on the outside are acceptable
  • liquid laundry detergent
    (two 25 oz. or one 50 oz. bottles only)
  • liquid household cleaner
    12-16 oz. liquid cleaner that can be mixed with water
    no spray cleaners
  • dish soap
    16-28 oz. bottle, any brand
  • 1 can air freshner
    aerosol or pump
  • 1 insect repellant spray
    6 - 14 oz. aerosol spay pump with protective cover
  • 1 scrub brush
    plastic or wooden handle
  • 18 cleaning wipes
    handi wipes or reusable wipes
    no terry cleaning towels
    remove from packaging
  • 7 sponges
    remove from wrapper
  • 5 scouring pads
    remove from wrapper
  • 50 clothespins
    remove from packaging
  • clothesline
    two 50ft. or one 100ft.
    cotton or plastic
  • 24 roll heavy duty trash bags
    remove from the box
  • 5 dust masks
  • 2 pair disposable kitchen gloves
    rubber or latex
    remove from packaging
  • 1 pair work gloves
    cotton or leather

Note: clorex is no longer included in cleaning buckets because of safety considerations.

Assembling Directions

Place all liquid items in the bucket first. Place remaining items in the bucket fitting them around and between the liquid items. Sponges, scouring pads, clothespins and trash bags can be separated in order to fit all of the items in the bucket. Ensure the lid is closed securely.

Important Notes

‐ All items must be new except for the actual bucket and lid.
‐ All cleaning agents must be liquid and in plastic containers. No powders please.
‐ If you cannot find the requested size of a liquid item, use a smaller size. Including larger sizes of any item will prevent the lid         from sealing.
‐ If all of the items on the list are not included, please put a label on the bucket indicating what has been omitted.
‐ Cleaning buckets are only used within the United States. They are not opened to verify the contents unless there is indication some items have been omitted.


Please assist with the cost of shipping buckets by including a gift of $2.00 per bucket.  Make checks payable to the Southwest Texass Conference and put disaster response shipping in the memo line.  Do not put money in the buckets. 

Disaster Response Warehouse Dedicated

Bishop Jim Dorff was joined by Bishop Joel Martinez for the dedication of the Bishop Joel and Dr. Raquel Martinez Disaster Response Center in Kerrville on December 11, 2010.  The warehouse was then turned over to Dr. Eugene Hileman representing the Conference Disaster Response Committee.  The dedication was covered in an Article in the December 24 issue of the United Methodist Witness.   The Witness can be found online at .  

The building has approximately 2500 square feet of usable space with thermostatically controlled ventilation and heating.  The next challenge is to add needed shelving and equipment so that it can become functional.   The Conference Disaster Response Committee will meet early in 2011 to begin the planning process to equip the building to initiate programs to fully use the resource.      

UMCOR grant will support Long Term Recovery Committees responding to Hurricane Alex and Rio Grande flooding

Disaster Response Warehouse Dedicated

Bishop Jim Dorff was joined by Bishop Joel Martinez for the dedication of the Bishop Joel and Dr. Raquel Martinez Disaster Response Center in Kerrville on December 11, 2010.  The warehouse was then turned over to Dr. Eugene Hileman representing the Conference Disaster Response Committee.  The dedication was covered in an Article in the December 24 issue of the United Methodist Witness.   The Witness can be found online at .  

The building has approximately 2500 square feet of usable space with thermostatically controlled ventilation and heating.  The next challenge is to add needed shelving and equipment so that it can become functional.   The Conference Disaster Response Committee will meet early in 2011 to begin the planning process to equip the building to initiate programs to fully use the resource.  

Disasters can have many faces in the Southwest Texas Conference.

Natural disaster such as hurricanes, floods or wild fires; man made disasters such as a chemical spills or gas line explosions; economic disasters such as a plant closings that devastate a single community or a general increase in unemployment; or a medical disasters such as pandemics all demand that the Church hears the call of our neighbors.


Early Response Teams (ERT) are specially trained teams that offer assistance soon after the disaster strikes. They generally do clean up work and tasks required to stop further damage from being done, e.g. putting tarps on damaged roofs. They might do minor repairs that help make homes habitable, but they do not do extensive repairs or reconstruction (that is the job for Long Term Recovery).  

Long Term Recovery
Long term recovery is the name given for the work of rebuilding after the disaster strikes. Often the Long Term Recovery takes many months and is generally done under the direction of interfaith long term recovery committees. UMCOR and the Southwest Texas Conference support these committees both financially and with expert consultants.


Volunteers are needed

UMVIM teams are needed to assist in recovery from the Rio Grande flooding of 2010.  Contact the persons listed above obtain additional informaion and to schedule a trip by your team.



Who gives leadership to disaster response in the Southwest Texas Conference?

Leadership of the disaster response effort by the Southwest Texas Conference is the responsibility of the Conference Disaster Response Committee that is chaired by the Conference Disaster Response Coordinator and includes District Disaster Response Coordinators from each of the seven districts, the Conference Director of Communications, a District Superintendent representing the Cabinet, and up to three at- large members.    The committee is part of the conference United Methodist Volunteer in Mission/Disaster Response Committee, which relates to the conference Board of Global Ministries.

The functions of the Conference Disaster Response Committee are to:
       Set broad policies and procedures related to disaster response.
       Encourage disaster preparedness in the Conference, especially by local churches
       Provide opportunities for individuals to receive training for disaster response
       priorities during a disaster
       Monitor the progress of the response.
       Provide temporary fixes for as many survivors as possible during the Relief Phase
       Assist communities during Long Term Recovery
       Evaluate response effectiveness.

What kinds of disasters do we respond to?

The Disaster Response Committee of the SWTX Conference primarily responds to natural disasters such as floods, tornadoes and hurricanes. Recently attention has been given to preparation for disasters related to pandemics. Other disasters, often called “man made” may result from terrorism and domestic disturbances or from accidents such as chemical spills. Resources of the conference would be used to assist individuals and families impacted by these disasters as well.

How does SWTX Conference respond to disasters?

The Disaster Response Committee of the Southwest Texas Conference stands ready to assist any time disasters are so large that the resources of the local community or the District are not sufficient to meet the needs. This response can take many forms.   Expert advice can be provided to help the local community as they meet immediate needs, or as they plan for recovery from a disaster by churches, families or the community. Volunteers can also be recruited by the Conference. Early Response Teams are deployed to assist with clean up and minor repairs needed to make homes habitable. Long term recovery teams help with rebuilding during the recovery phase after a disaster. In addition, Spiritual and Emotional Care teams can provide support to individuals and congregations as they cope with the loss caused by a disaster.  

The Conference Disaster Response Committee is also the link between local communities and UMCOR. UMCOR has expert consultants to assist immediately following a disaster, as well as during the recovery phase. They are especially helpful as the community plans for long term recovery and offer a variety of training programs to assist in long term recovery. The Bishop may request financial assistance from UMCOR to assist communities as they respond to a disaster.

How can I volunteer to help when a disaster strikes?

The best thing you can do is plan ahead. Get trained to be a member of an Early Response Team (ERT) or a Care team. In addition, you may receive training from the American Red Cross to work in a shelter or some other capacity. Many avenues are open to you if you are trained.

If you are not trained before the disaster, you can still make a difference. Immediately following the disaster, your best avenue is in your local community. Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) is organized in many communities or counties. They may have a Volunteer Operations Center (VOC) set up to process volunteers and match their skills and interests with the needs of organizations serving disaster survivors. If no VOC exists, the local ministerial alliance may be able to direct you where your skills can be put to use. Another alternative is to contact a responding organization directly.  For example, you may want to contact the Salvation Army or the American Red Cross. Also, other denominations might have programs where you could serve. For example, the Seventh Day Adventists have an extensive clothing ministry and the Baptist Men frequently serve meals to disaster survivors.    

Possibly the greatest need for volunteers comes in the recovery phase of the disaster. This is when long term recovery takes place—generally under the direction of an interdenominational long term recovery committee (LTRC). Thousands of hours of volunteer help are needed to clear debris from yards, and repair or rebuild homes. This task is often the hardest to accomplish because the job is so large and because the survivors are no longer in the news. UMVIM teams from your church or area can work with the Long Term Recovery Committee and plan a convenient time for you to go.

Early Response

ERT training covers a wide range of topics, but the most important are team and individual safety and response protocols that prevent action that may somehow make the situation worse. For example, work could be done that would cause homeowners to loose insurance payments or loose their eligibility for government assistance through FEMA, SBA, etc.

Why is training necessary before I can be part of an Early Response Team?

Why is a criminal background check required before I can be on an Early Response Team?

Conference policy requires all workers who have contact with youth or vulnerable adults to have a background check. Also, many government agencies require a background check before volunteers are permitted to work in shelters or even to gain entrance to disaster sites. The Disaster Response Committee has established policies to protect the privacy of volunteers who have a background check as well as policies to evaluate the suitability for service of volunteers who have minor violations on their record.

Long Term Recovery

What are the active long term recovery sites in the Southwest Texas conference?

Presently two sites are actively seeking volunteers to assist with long term recovery. You should contact the volunteer coordinator directly to schedule your team.

What do UMVIM teams do during Long Term Recovery?

Long term recovery takes place in the months (and sometimes years) following the disaster. It is generally under the direction of an interfaith long term recovery committee (LTRC). UMVIM teams are needed to do home repairs, and in some cases, do complete rebuilds. Work is often done under the direction of a construction coordinator and the committee may have a volunteer coordinator with whom team leaders should make arrangements. Teams often stay in local churches but are responsible for their food. A gift to the host church to cover incidental expenses is standard procedure. The team leader of an UMVIM team doing long term recovery work following a disaster must have completed the course in UMVIM Leader Training.


Eugene Hileman
Disaster Response Coordinator
Southwest Texas Conference
13506 Beltway
San Antonio, TX 78217

Austin District

Emmett Eary
P. O. Box 764
Phlugerville, TX 78691-0764


Corpus Christi District

Rev. Beth Tatum
153 Nakishwana
Sandia, TX 78383
361-584-2355 (Work)
713-724-8873 (Cell)

Mickey Viar
52 Mocking bird Lane
Rockport, TX 78382
361-463-9245 (Cell)
512-410-4646 (Home)

Kerrville District

George Barnette

Mc Allen District

Sherwood Hamilton
956-466-9782 (Cell)
956-425-4133 (Home)

San Angelo District


San Antonio District

Tom Warner
1818 Vinca Manor
San Antonio, TX 78260

Victoria District

Ron Langford
2412 W. Bayshore Dr.
Polocios, TX 77465