That's really great, Luci! What kind of things do you do? How do you get involved in something like that?
We do mostly destruction and salvaging of personal property, as well as listening to the homeowners' problems and frustrations. Construction cannot begin until mold spraying and a sufficient drying out period has occurred - a couple of weeks at least. We have other teams for construction, called Nomads. We all have training, pay our own way except for some meals served as a thank you to us, and our own equipment, including fuel. We are volunteers, and occasionally get a grant from UMCOR for gasoline if we go far out of our district.
We work out of the Methodist Church - UMCOR. The Baptists have a large system of ERTs also, and I think the Lutherans. We have a Jew in our team, by the way. We do pray, but if you don't, all we ask is that you be respectful. We worked with the Baptists once and they kept telling us they were going to take us down to the river to be properly Baptised. All in fun.
When our son first started the team, there were about 20. Now, in 4 years, there are over 500 in Central Illinois. We used to get a lot of calls out of district, but the movement is growing so quickly that the places we formerly would go to have enough members to take care of themselves.
I've worked floods, ice storms, tornadoes, once an abondoned house that the heir just did know how to handle (hoarding, bad roof, years of neglect), but never a huricane, which is flooding and tornado type destruction together. We cry, then get to work. We are always invited - never just show up. Our hearts are full.