Winter Haven-based volunteer group aiding in Harvey disaster relief

By Rick Elmhorst, Anchor/Reporter
Last Updated: Wednesday, September 06, 2017, 5:52 PM EDT

A Winter Haven volunteer group that traveled to Texas in the wake of Hurricane Harvey continues to lend their aid with disaster relief as damaged cities work to recover.

  • Group left for Houston area last week
  • Volunteers from several states part of group
  • Volunteers may stay in Texas for up to a month

The group, with American Baptist Association Disaster Relief Ministries and led by Paul Stansell, left for the Houston area last week, driving through flooded roads to get there.

In a video interview, Stansell talked about the mess left behind by the storm.

“It’s just a mess behind me," Stansell said. "This is just a portion of the debris. We’ve got it out of the building now. We’ve treated it with the first coat of mold kill and we are moving everything out to the roadside for debris pickup.”
 
Since their arrival, they have been clearing mud and other debris out of homes and churches in Dickinson, Texas and other cities.

“We have tried doing a two pronged approach helping the community by doing mud outs," said Stansell. "So many people have lost everything, so we are hauling furniture out, we removing debris to keep the house from growing mold.”

Volunteers from several states are part of the group. They have been staying at a local Baptist church to keep costs low.

Some of the volunteers will stay for several days or a week. Stansell said he may stay for a month to coordinate the volunteers.