Rep. James Lockhart, D-Heavener
I must come clean. Up until a few days ago I had never dealt with the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma (BGCO) directly. I had heard mention of this thing or that thing they did through members of my church. I had never dealt directly with the BGCO, so I did not know what to expect.
That was before the flood.
When the Haw Creek and Hontubby communities in southern LeFlore County flooded recently, BGCO disaster relief teams were the first on the scene.
The BGCO disaster relief teams set up shop in the old rock school building at Haw Creek. They cooked breakfast, lunch, and dinner for anyone that would come eat it. They brought experts that led the teams of volunteers to assist with cleaning the mud from the flooded houses.
The leadership style of the BGCO teams was simple: if a BGCO worker had a blue ball cap, he was a boss. Billy the Blue Hat was what we called my team leader. Simple, direct, extremely effective leadership, Billy has about 70 rent houses in his home town. He was the go-to guy when it came to cleaning the flooded houses and knowing exactly how to go about it.
Roughly, 25 houses were flooded in Haw Creek. The BGCO volunteers cut out the damaged drywall and insulation, power washed the debris and mud out of the houses, loaded the debris and assisted with hauling it off. The BGCO teams then sprayed the houses with anti-fungal, anti-mold pesticide to prevent the dangerous molds and fungus that grow inside the walls after a flood, and they did all of this work at no cost to the homeowners.
One of the BGCO volunteers was from Moore. I was shocked that he would leave his hometown that had been devastated by tornadoes to come help a small, rural community in far southeastern Oklahoma with a flood. Another BGCO volunteer was retired from HUD. He was very familiar with floods after his hometown of Miami, Oklahoma, had flooded years ago. He shared stories of how they had dealt with the affected homes. I valued his insight and the concern he showed for those who lives had been impacted.
I was thoroughly impressed with the BGCO teams. They were effective and knowledgeable. Best of all there wasn’t massive amounts of paperwork or other red tape often associated with large organizations. The BGCO volunteers were especially compassionate towards the families that were displaced by the flood.
The BGCO volunteers didn’t ask for recognition or wages, they didn’t force their particular brand of religion or politics on anyone. In fact, in the days that I worked side by side with them, not one of them ever asked which political party I belonged to.
I have always been a member of a Baptist church. Basically, I believe our job as Christians is to bring more people to know Jesus Christ. These BGCO volunteers were a shining example to what Jesus taught, “do unto others as you would have done to you.” The actions of the BGCO disaster relief teams spoke louder than words. I was glad to have been given the opportunity to see the good works the BGCO does.
To help the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma contact them at:
3800 N. May Avenue
Oklahoma City, OK 73112
(405) 942-3000 / (405) 942-3800