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!

You can see that I brought back more than ideas from our staff debrief in Rome, Georgia. It was a great time to discuss and evaluate what we learned during our response to Hurricanes Florence (the Carolinas) and Michael (Florida). The versatility of the Bobcat Mini came in very handy in Panama City, Florida, during the many months we were there, and it was decided that our Depot in Dallas would benefit from having one on hand. It just followed me all the way home.

Helpful Information

Sheds of Hope is a ministry of Mission to North America (MNA) Disaster Response. For more information, see the Sheds of Hope Brochure and our Sheds of Hope Pre-Build Plan – Material Order List Included.

Book a Shed of Hope Training for your church today.

A Roadmap for Involvement

515 RUF Students pre-build 18 Sheds of Hope

During their free time at Summer Conference 515 RUF students pre-built 18 Sheds of Hope and because they worked so fast we had to go out and get more material to start another 6 sheds. The rest of the parts to complete these 6 sheds have now been built by Lake Oconee Presbyterian Church in Georgia and will soon make the journey to Panama City for set-up.

RUF Summer Conference (SuCo) got off to a great start with all available time slots filled for the week. 210 students from many different campuses signed up and worked hard at the Sheds of Hope Pre-build.

This was the first time to introduce Sheds of Hope during the three weeks of SuCo. The first week was a tremendous success, and we exceeded our goal. Six-and-a-half sheds were pre-built, and one was set up at a home. This SuCo project was inspired by the enthusiastic work of staff and students from the University of Kentucky (UK) RUF when I worked with them in Mullins, SC during a mission trip on their New Year break.

Advance Teams came in to help me get all the material pre-cut and prepared for this three week event. Three men from Evergreen Presbyterian Church in Tennessee and two from Pinewood Presbyterian Church in Florida worked alongside me, pre-cutting the lumber and plywood for the eighteen sheds we plan to build.