Disaster response team from Tennessee River District travels to Frayser to help with storm cleanup


Jim Robertson, top right photo, is part of a six-member Tennessee River District disaster response team working to clean up storm debris in North Shelby County. (Submitted photos)

A disaster response team from the Tennessee River District of the Memphis Conference of The United Methodist Church deployed June 14 to the Frayser, Tennessee, area of northern Shelby County to help with cleanup in the aftermath of a May 27 storm that adversely affected the greater Memphis,Tennessee, area.

The Memphis Commercial Appeal reported that the storm “ripped trees from the ground with 80 mph winds” after it crossed the Mississippi River from Arkansas. Roads were blocked and electrical power outages affected many parts of Shelby County for many days.

"Many large trees are down in that impoverished (Frayser) area with dozens of homes affected," said Rev. Robert Craig, Memphis Conference disaster relief coordinator. "It is estimated that there will be months of cleanup required, followed by long-term recovery efforts to help rebuild."

The Tennessee River District team, led by Frank Hartman of Huntingdon First United Methodist Church in Huntingdon, Tennessee, has traveled to help with tree and debris removal, according to Craig.

Team members with Hartman include Cecil Brown of Blooming Grove United Methodist Church in McKenzie, Tennessee; Butch Hatcher of Paris First Baptist Church; Jimmy D. Phifer of Flatwoods United Methodist Church in Camden, Tennessee; Jim Robertson of Paris First United Methodist Church in Paris, Tennessee; and Robert Taylor of Huntingdon First United Methodist Church.

Members of this team have received training for the work they are doing, said Craig.

Frayser Community Development Corporation and Clean Memphis are the partnering organizations providing housing and meals for the team, said Craig. Additionally, Scenic Hills United Methodist Church in Memphis is providing a meal.

Meal and housing assistance makes it possible for disaster response teams to deploy at minimum personal expense, said Dr. Joe Geary, Memphis Conference director of Connectional Ministries, who requests prayers for all who are helping the hard-hit area recover from the storm.

Craig said the Tennessee River District team will return home after two days. Volunteers from the Metro District also have responded and a Purchase District team will deploy soon, he added.

To learn more about the Memphis Conference disaster relief ministry, CLICK HERE.

~Compiled by Lane Gardner Camp, Director of Communications, Memphis Conference