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Texas Emergency Management ONLINE 2017 Vol. 64 No. 2

Happy 50th Anniversary, Texas Baptist Men!

A dream of compassion that began with two handmade "buddy burners" preparing hot food for survivors after Hurricane Beulah in 1967, became the Texas Baptist Men and Southern Baptist Disaster Relief.  During 50 years of ministry, the one-gallon cans turned into miniature stoves has grown to a fleet of 105 response vehicles for Texas Baptist Men and 1,500 nationwide for Southern Baptist Disaster Relief.  From Robert E. (Bob) Dixon, Dr. John LaNoue and a handful of others working side-by-side during early hurricanes and tornadoes crossing the state has grown a team of 10,000 volunteers in Texas and 65,000 nationwide.

As Texas Baptist Men celebrates 50 years of ministry to those in crisis in Texas, across the country and around the world, we look back to our blessed beginnings. We have been blessed to touch millions of lives and offer hope when all seems lost. 

In 1971 the Mary Hill Davis Texas State Mission Offering allotted $25,000 to purchase our first unit, an 18-wheeler that was converted to a mobile feeding unit.  Its maiden voyage was 1972 when a flash flood struck the Sequin/New Braunfels area.  The unit prepared and served more than 2,500 hot meals to disaster survivors and relief workers.

So began the tradition still followed today by Texas Baptist Men and Southern Baptist Disaster Relief- responding quickly to provide physical and spiritual relief in the midst of any type of disaster.

In 1973, Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers responded to their first international disaster following an earthquake in Nicaragua followed shortly thereafter to a hurricane in Honduras.

Beginning in 1976 more states joined Texas in this new area of ministry.  Each year Texas Baptist Men take time for, fellowship, training and networking with organizational partners in all 50 states, Canada and American territories.

As the ministry grew, leadership structure evolved.  In the beginning, a small group of volunteers would move into a community and provide hot meals, listening ears, and loving hearts.  They would often enlist the members of local congregations in the serving lines providing a link between the disaster relief ministry and the local congregation.  Once the disaster relief units left the affected community, the local church and its members could continue to provide ongoing ministry to the community.  With the signing of the American Red Cross Statement of Understanding 1986, a more formal leadership team was implemented.  In 2000 Texas Baptist Men's Disaster Operations Center was opened in Dallas, Texas which assists in disaster responses.

September 11, 2001 was a pivotal point for Southern Baptist Disaster Relief with more than 4,000 volunteers from 32 states responding.  As we assisted during this very critical time in our nation's history, the need for using the Incident Command System was realized and steps were taken to implement the system.  It continues to be our standard for operations as we work with federal, state and our partnering agencies.

Southern Baptist Disaster Relief provides a unique opportunity to translate a spiritual message to hurting people regardless of circumstances, social status, financial situation, language, political persuasion, theological stance, education or race. 

Learn more about Texas Baptist Men.

Terry Henderson, Disaster Relief Director
Texas Baptist Men
5351 Catron
Dallas, TX 75227
Office: (214) 275-1127
Cell: (214) 676-7201

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