After taking a Covid-19 forced break, Nashville Presbytery resumed (somewhat) tornado relief work this weekend by building Sheds of Hope on disaster-displaced homeowner’s properties. MNA Disaster Response is still subject to a robust-volunteer-mobilization pause, however, we were cautiously able to support the presbytery’s resumption of operations by shipping Sheds of Hope to Nashville to support their work. All of the volunteers were coordinated by the presbytery. We were impressed by their organization, and thankful for the great weather that made the work enjoyable for all who joined in.

City Church of East Nashville (PCA) is located just a few blocks from a major tornado touch-down area. The congregation has been working with affected families since the tornado blew-through, while complying with the pandemic-induced slow down in relief operations. Virginia Carter has been serving as the congregations liaison to MNA Disaster Response and has been a pleasure to work with. She recruited a large number of volunteers from three churches to help setup the Sheds of Hope on Saturday, not a small undertaking by any standard. We are thankful for her organization skills that made the workday a huge success. If you have organized a mission trip, church workday, large gathering, event, etc., you know what I am taking about.

Keith Perry, MNA Disaster Response Specialist provides construction management.

Keith Perry, MNA Disaster Response Specialist, traveled from Melbourne Florida to Nashville to provide construction management to the groups working at four different sites. It is hard to maintain social distancing while doing relief work, but the Nashvillians proved it possible as seen above.

The first four Sheds of Hope were completed by the end of the day, and the homeowners were able to begin moving their recover personal belongings inside, now they can begin repairing their homes.

Betsy Browne and her three adult children stopped by one of the build sites to say hello and encourage the teams. We are so thankful for them and their contribution to this important ministry that John poured six years of his life into. As you may remember, Betsy and John moved to Nashville last year.

Let’s keep praying that ALL the current restrictions will be relaxed soon and that churches can relaunch relief efforts full force, sooner than later. Nashville Presbytery is planning another Saturday Sheds of Hope build soon to help four more families in this same area.

Thanks to Dick Forrester, a Deacon at Lake Oconee PCA, we have refreshed the file download section of Sheds of Hope website. Lake Oconee PCA has a lot of experience pre-building Sheds of Hope, with about 65 builds under their belts. We recently asked Dick to take a look at the files that were hosted on the site and update them, and add a few new files that teams regularly need. We give thanks for our partnership with Lake Oconee PCA and for Dick’s leadership and friendship to MNA Disaster Response and Sheds of Hope.

Click Here to visit the download page. There you will find a number of important user files that are helpful when planning for a new build, budgeting and purchasing materials, pre-building, transporting, and setting-up Sheds of Hope. There is also links to a booklet explaining the benefit of a SmartBench, and a brochure about Sheds of Hope.

Take a look and let us know what you think. As typical, the plans for Sheds of Hope are living documents; we are always improving the plan to reflect our commitment to improving the quality of the Sheds and improving the speed in which we can set-up Sheds on homeowners properties. Updating the ‘files in the computer’ is our effort to give our teams the resources they need to streamline their process.

Dubbed the “The City of Opportunity” at its founding, Seneca SC still claims its title, maybe even more so now than when the city originally chartered in 1874 as “Seneca City’. The city was originally named for a 1700’s Indian village, Esseneca, located on the banks of the nearby Seneca River. Now many, many new opportunities exist to rebuild this community located in the ‘Upcountry’ region of South Carolina. 21 tornadoes swept across the state on Easter Sunday and into the early morning hours of Monday wrecking everything in their paths. Nine people lost their lives in SC and over 1,000 homes have severe damage. The tornado was on the ground for 14 minutes, traveled almost 17 miles, and experts say Its final rating was a high-end EF3. 

When the deadly tornado touched down it immediately wrecked the local Borg-Warner automotive parts plant. It is truly amazing that only one person was killed at the plant, a contract security guard. The workers there produce 4-WD transfer cases for Chrysler/RAM, Ford, and Toyota. Those automakers depend on the plant for the major drive-train component for the Ram 1500, Toyota Tundra and Ford F-150, SuperDuty trucks, Expedition, Explorer, Transit van, Lincoln Navigator and Lincoln Aviator. Having the plant out of commission will obviously create a major global ripple effect for these manufacturers unless they can get it back on line quickly, which is unlikely.

The Seneca Borg-Warner 4-WD Transfer Case Plant Suffered Major Damage

Once the rescue workers cleared the area, MNA Disaster Response deployed Sheds of Hope at the request of Crossgate PCA. Calvary Presbytery sent volunteers from as far away as Newberry SC, and Highlands Presbytery volunteers came from Elizabethton TN. Crossgate identified four families that needed storage capacity for their recovered personal belonging during their anticipated arduous rebuilding process, and they received Sheds of Hope on Saturday.

Unstrapping, unwrapping, and unloading Sheds of Hope in Seneca SC.
Crossgate PCA members were joined by Calvary Presbytery and Highlands Presbytery Volunteers to build Sheds of Hope
Lots of enthusiatic helpers speeds the process of setting up a new Shed of Hope.
The last of the four Sheds of Hope built on Saturday

Please keep praying for Seneca and Crossgate PCA, they have a long road ahead, but they are fully committed to restoration. To know more about Crossgate please navigate to https://www.crossgatepca.org. Crossgate will be working with Sheds of Hope in the future, once they are back on their feet, to establish their own Sheds of Hope building team. On the Crossgate PCA home page is a link to donate to the fund that has been established to fund the repairs to both of their pastor’s homes damaged by the tornado.

Tennessee earned the nickname after the state’s overwhelming involvement in the War of 1812. A little over 15 years after gaining statehood, patriotic Tennesseans were eager to participate in the war effort. With General Andrew Jackson, a fellow Tennessean, leading the charge, over 1,500 soldiers stepped up to the plate. This was especially true in the Battle of New Orleans, the final major battle of the war, where American troops defeated the British with overwhelming help from those helpful Tennesseans.

Now, just a few days after a dangerous tornado routed Chattanooga, many Tennessee VOLUNTEERS are helping bring restoration to this community.

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MNA Disaster Response transported the first load of Sheds of Hope to Covenant PCA in Chattanooga this afternoon. Another load will arrive tomorrow morning.

Tennessee Valley Presbytery VOLUNTEERS, joined Covenant PCA VOLUNTEERS to unload the Sheds in the parking lot of Covenant PCA, which is becoming the staging area for the Sheds of Hope project.  A smaller trailer will be used to transport the Sheds to the homeowner properties. Pray for good weather tomorrow as the first Sheds will be constructed on displaced homeowners property.

After the War of 1812, the Tennessee VOLUNTEERS didn’t stop volunteering. The nickname became even more applicable after the Mexican-American War in 1846 when, after the Secretary of War asked the state for 2,800 soldiers, Tennessee sent over 30,000. Today, MNA asked for a team of 6 VOLUNTEERS to help unload, but many more showed up to help. The VOLUNTEER spirit is alive and well in Tennessee yet today.

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Each Shed of Hope weighs about 1,200 lbs. And as the saying goes, “many hands make light work”. A large group of VOLUNTEERS assembled to get the components offloaded.

MNA will send at least one more load of Sheds of Hope tomorrow from the Rome Georgia Warehouse and Training Center. To know more about the campus, please navigate to http://mnawarehouse.com. The warehouse has regular Saturday work days; volunteers join together to prepare relief kits, preform campus maintenance, undertake campus improvement projects, and eat pizza. Why not VOLUNTEER soon?

MNA Charles H. Jones Family Disaster Response Center, Rome Georgia

A series of destructive tornadoes slammed the Southeastern US on Easter Sunday and Monday, April 12–13, 2020. With at least 29 tornadic fatalities reported, this is the most deadly tornado outbreak since April 2014 when a similar event flattened communities in OK, KS, AR, MS, and TN.  Sheds of Hope has been activated; we are deploying to Heidelberg MS tomorrow, and to Seneca SC on Friday. We are in discussion with leaders in TN and AL as well. Please pray for Godly wisdom as we plan.

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Marty Huddleston will transport the first 4 Sheds of Hope from the MNA Rome Georgia Warehouse & Training Center tomorrow to Heidelberg PCA, where he will meet up with the Sheds of Hope setup team from Covenant PCA Auburn Alabama. Keith Perry, MNA Disaster Response Specialist Florida will join the team. Pray for a smooth uneventful journey for Marty, the team from Auburn, and for Keith. Especially pray for the lovely homeowners that are receiving these Sheds, they have been through a lot.

Also, we are also deploying Sheds to Seneca SC where the community served by Crossgate SC suffered catastrophic damage. Seneca SC is in the ‘Upcountry or Up State’ area of SC, not too far from Clemson. Crossgate is asking for Sheds of Hope asap.

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Seneca South Carolina

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Sheds of Hope being loaded today in Rome Georgia

A few pieces of the puzzle still need to be identified, so please pray for that. Calvary Presbytery is sending volunteers, and we are recruiting a team from Tennessee which is in Highland Presbytery to train the team from Calvary. Pray this will be worked out in time to transport the Sheds there so that we can take advantage of the upcoming saturday to get the first 4 built.

MNA Sheds of Hope teams are taking a Covid-19 pandemic forced break for a few weeks. We continue to have regular discussions with churches in tornado-trounced Nashville and Cookeville TN. As soon as travel and gathering restrictions are lifted we will likely be active in both communities. Pray the restrictions are lifted soon so that we can resume helping families get back on their feet.

In the meantime we continue to plan and prepare, using the time we have been given to better equip for the future. One project we have been undertaking is fabricating wallboard supports. We temporarily fasten these to the 4 corners of a Shed of Hope while it is being assembled on a homeowner’s property to support aluminum walk-boards. The walk-boards permit volunteers to safely stand at an elevated level while roofing the shed.

8 newly fabricated walk-board supports, enough for 2 teams

In the foreground of the above picture you can see the new stack of 8 steel supports. Behind, there is a wooden version. We finally disposed of all of the wooden ones because they were thrown together in a hurry during the numerous Sheds of Hope builds in Panama City last year when teams were building in multiple locations at once. They weren’t intended for long-term use, and had deteriorated quite badly. The steel ones were designed by John Browne, and really speed up the roof sheeting and shingling process, and are lighter than the ones constructed of wood. The alternative is to work strictly on ladders, which limits how many volunteers can contribute.

The finished walk-board supports, ready to be put to use(upside-down).

Now we have 3 complete sets of supports, since it takes 4 for each shed build. We would like to have at least 3 more sets of these supports so that we can safely equip 6 teams. Do you have a fabricator/welder in your church or network? Please share this post with them and ask if they would be willing to invest a day fabricating a couple sets of supports; their efforts will bless the socks off many storm-crushed families. The MNA Warehouse in Rome GA has the tools on-hand to accomplish this-just add volunteers! A couple of volunteers could go there and fabricate them in one day, or they could build them at work, or at home. It could be a fun project for a few capable folks. Let us know!

Enjoy the entire video of these lovely RUF University of Kentucky students helping flooded homeowners in SC, but advance to about 5:20 to see the metal brackets and how they are used.

Sadly, we just found out that MNA Disaster Response has postponed the upcoming Site Manager Training that was scheduled for May 22-24 in Rome GA at the MNA Charles H. Jones Family Disaster Relief Center. Bummer! The postponement is due to the uncertainty generated by the COVID-19 pandemic. =[

The three-day gathering was designed to equip and train those who would serve as future Site Managers at MNA Disaster Response recovery sites. Site Managers are in charge of every aspect of operations at a particular recovery site, and insure continuity through capable leadership.

Postponed

We are especially bummed to learn this since Sheds of Hope was scheduled to conduct an important workshop at the event, “Sheds of Hope: A valuable resource to Site Managers and those in need”. Please join us in praying for MNA Disaster Response leadership as they seek to reschedule this event during October or November.

MNA Sheds of Hope is preparing to send additional Hope to the the tornado-crushed communities of Nashville and Cookeville Tennessee. Folks in both areas are attempting to recover from the March 2-3 EF0 – EF4 tornado outbreak that slammed their communities in the middle of the night, a frightening event to experience. Twenty-six people were killed and more than 300 suffered major injuries, while hundreds of commercial properties and residences were catastrophically damaged or destroyed. MNA Disaster Response (MNADR) has been in several meetings and discussions with Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) congregations within Nashville Presbytery, and a long-term recovery plan is developing. Next week additional planning will take place in Nashville and Cookeville.

Putnam County Tennessee, near Cookeville.

The local PCA churches have been spontaneously responding on their own without robust denominational help, with enhanced ability to help since damage to PCA families has been minimal. However, over the next few weeks MNADR expects the local leadership will settle on a long-term recovery plan that may include traveling volunteer team mobilization to assist in the efforts. Meanwhile, our Rome Warehouse has already transported supplies and equipment to standup the local churches in their efforts, including flood buckets, hygiene kits, dehumidifiers, box-fans, generators, tarps, paper products, diapers, water, hand sanitizer, wipes, etc.

Mike Kennamer, MNA Warehouse Manager, manning a forklift to load roofing tarps destined for Nashville.
MNADR Warehouse supplied equipment and supplies being offloaded in Nashville
PCA volunteers gathering to pray before serving in Nashville

MNA Sheds of Hope and the MNA Charles H. Jones Family Disaster Response Center in Rome Georgia have been preparing for this event, along with a growing number of relief providers. The Rome Warehouse had thousands of relief kits and massive quantities of supplies and equipment ready to ship. Pray for wisdom, and that good organization will take place in the next weeks, and that Sheds of Hope is invited to take part in the long-term recovery plan, providing much needed storage for recovered homeowners recovered personal property. Pray especially that “..and that our service for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints” – Romans 15:31

Newly shrink-wrapped Sheds of Hope ready for transport at the Rome Georgia Warehouse

The Rome Warehouse has 32 Sheds of Hope pre-built and ready for transport, providentially just 3 hours from Nashville and Cookeville. In January of this year, Marty Huddleston, MNADR Specialist, with the help of Evergreen PCA Sevierville TN, began shrink-wrapping the pre-build Sheds of Hope prepositioned at the Rome Warehouse. Formally, we used stock readily-available but expensive tarps that didn’t fit well, were actually dangerous to install…since climbing on tall stacks of Sheds was required, were hard to keep secured in place during windy conditions, and required removal before transport. Now, after the initial equipment investment, the cost to shrink-wrap a Sheds of Hope is less than using a tarp, and the SOH is in better condition when eventually placed with a homeowner. Our hope is that we can soon duplicate this same process for Sheds stored at the Dallas Depot, and the Mid-Atlantic Depot in Smithfield Virginia.

Men from Evergreen PCA Sevierville TN developing the shrink-wrapping procedure.

Thanks for continuing to support your Sheds of Hope ministry, your partnership keeps this vital ministry out there helping disaster displaced families. No other disaster recovery agency, faith-based or otherwise, that we know of, is active in the robust provision of storage solutions for disaster-displaced families. MNA Disaster Response Sheds of Hope has provided more than 1,600 Sheds since 2006, a huge milestone by all accounts.

That’s the best way to learn, right? On Saturday March 7, the Sheds of Hope building teams of Memorial Presbyterian Church – Elizabethton TN and Lake Oconee Presbyterian Church – Eatonton GA joined together at the Rome Warehouse to train approximately 25 students of Georgia Tech in Sheds of Hope building skills. The event was hosted by MNA Disaster Response and Winshape Camps.

Doug Thomas, Memorial PCA working with a student.

The MNA Charles H. Jones Family Disaster Relief Warehouse and Training Center in Rome GA provides a great platform for SOH training events and is equipped with a Smart Bench, designed by John Browne.

Instructor Ed Robinson, former Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) missionary aviator, with Georgia Tech students building a wall. This is retirement.

This is the third year that students have traveled from Atlanta to assist at the warehouse. These students are members of Sigma Chi Fraternity. Go Yellow Jackets!

Safety Glasses all around!
Lake Oconee PCA team Leader, Dick Forrester supervising the end wall construction of a Shed of Hope. Perhaps the most critical part of a build.
Only the Lord knows where these Sheds of Hope will provide great hope to a tempest-tossed family, maybe in your community!
Warehouse and Training Center Manager, Mike Kennamer, receiving a gift from Sigma Chi Georgia Tech. Thank you, students, you blessed us immensely to bless others!

The Dallas EF3 (winds of 136-165 mph) was approximately 10 minutes on the ground for 16 miles with an estimated 2 billion dollar recovery cost. Churches, Homes, Schools and Businesses were destroyed in the Sunday, October 26, 2019 Tornado. A total of 10 tornadoes spun up during this front as it passed through the Dallas metroplex.

Recovery efforts were underway on Monday morning for Churches all around the disaster area. Mission to North America Disaster Response and Park Cities Presbyterian Church loaded up supplies from the Dallas Depot to bring to church members and churches in the wake of the destruction. None of our Presbyterian Churches (PCA) were damaged, but a number of PCA families lost homes during the EF-3, sustaining severe damage from winds and uprooted trees. Debris and downed power lines left roads impassable, with North-South travel coming to a standstill. The main roads have been moving slowly all week, as people look at the devastation.

Today, Saturday, October 26th, we are pre-building Sheds of Hope at the Dallas Depot to restock our inventory and be ready to help families needing storage, as devastated neighborhoods will soon be accessible. It is a great way to celebrate my one-year anniversary of being a United States citizen.

Michael Denton and John Browne Preparing to Deliver Supplies

Enhanced Fujita Scale (EF-Scale)

Someone asked me the other day what the EF level means. Here are the definitions, along with the number of each type that hit the Dallas metroplex Sunday night. Source: DallasNews.com for the number that hit the metroplex.

EF0 65-85 mph Light damage (4 on Sunday night)
EF1 86-110 mph Moderate damage(4 on Sunday night)
EF2 111-135 mph Considerable damage(1 on Sunday night)
EF3 136-165 mph Severe damage(1 on Sunday night)
EF4 166-200 mph Devastating damage
EF5 >200 mph Incredible damage

“Fun” Fact – Moving to Another State Is Not an Option for Escaping Tornadoes

There are no tornado-free states in the United States. The state with the fewest tornadoes is Alaska. Roughly 1200 tornadoes form each year in the U.S. Texas gets its fair share with over 80 per year.
Source: The Internet – It must be true!