Brent Alabama. Proven by Tempest.

At least five were left dead in AL on Thursday, March 25, after a severe weather outbreak in the south that spawned several tornadoes. Five deaths occurred in Calhoun County, just east of Birmingham. Four of the victims lived in Ohatchee, where significant damage occured; the fifth victim was killed in a mobile home in Wellington. At least a half dozen tornadoes were confirmed in AL, while one was confirmed in MS and another in TN. The next day the National Weather Service declared a tornado emergency for Newnan, GA, about 35 miles southwest of Atlanta.

The large tornado that struck Brent and Centreville AL promped the Weather Service to issue a ‘tornado emergency’ and warn of potentially ‘catastrophic’ damage. Radar showed a large amount of debris from this tornado lofted into the atmosphere in what is known as a ‘debris ball’ signature. “What you are seeing is graphic violence,” said Birmingham TV meteorologist James Spann as he described the radar shown to viewers. James’ own home suffered significant damage from the storm. Although MNA Disaster Response is assisting in many areas of AL in response to this event, Brent is the only area where Sheds of Hope are being deployed.

This isn’t the first historic-strength tornado that has crushed Brent. On May 27, 1973, a category 4 tornado tore through the Brent, Centreville, Montevallo, and Greensboro area, leaving 90 percent of the city of Brent destroyed.  The tornado demolished more than 12,000 acres of timber and over 500 buildings; 72 people in the area were injured and five of its citizens killed. The thoughts and fears of that dreadful day were still lingering with the citizens of Brent and were pushed again to the forefront when the March 2021 tornado occurred.  The City of Brent was founded in 1898 but was forever changed on that day in 1973.  A site next to the current City Hall building was dedicated to the people of Brent whose lives were devastating by the powerful tornado. Five lives were lost: 

MNA Disaster Response is assisting Brent Presbyterian Church after the recent tornado. Although the church was established in 1907 it was in 1973 that Brent Presbyterian Church became a founding member of Warrior Presbytery and eventually the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA). Brent PCA’s current pastor is Rev. Mitchell L. Haubert, who was installed in 2015. He also serves as the Executive Director of Jumpstart-Alabama and the Coordinator for Birmingham Theological Seminary’s Prison Initiative Program. If you are on Facebook you can visit Pastor Mitch’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/chaplain.bull If you would like to know more about Jumpstart Alabama, please go here: https://www.jumpstartvision.org/alabama/. To read a summary of Birmingham Theological Seminary’s Prison Initiative Program, click this link: https://bts.education/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Prison-Initiative-Brochure.pdf

After the storm as soon as access was allowed MNA Disaster Response TAG Region Specialist Mike Kennamer requested Sheds of Hope kits be sent to Brent PCA. MNA Disaster Response Logistics Specialist Marty Huddleston loaded the kits at the Rome GA warehouse and rendezvoused with Mike and MNA Disaster Response FL Region Specialist Keith Perry in Brent. Over the next few days Mike and Keith trained church members on how to setup the Sheds of Hope on the property of homeowners displaced by the storms. The old training model, ‘See one, Do one, Teach one’ method that is so effective was employed to train these volunteers. Some members of the Jumpstart Alabama program joined the efforts.

Spring tornado season is no where near over just yet and the Atlantic Hurricane Season is just around the corner. Colorado State University has recently released their 2021 predictions and if they prove true it’s going to be another doozy. Obviously, only the Lord knows for sure, but making preparations is always a good idea – and biblical. The Word has a lot to say about being prudent and wise.

If you would like to join in the relief efforts in AL you can reach Mike Kennamer at mkennamer@pcanet.org or visit the MNA Disaster Response TAG (Tennessee-Alabama-Georgia) Region webpage at http://mnadrtag.com.

Additionally, we are now moving towards resuming training events. If you would like to schedule a Sheds of Hope training or a general disaster response training event at your presbytery or church, please contact Arklie Hooten at ahooten@pcanet.org.

In preparation for the upcoming storm season you can register as a MNA Disaster Response Volunteer. Please click here to register as a volunteer.

If you would like to support the ministry of MNA Disaster Response, please click here.

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