BSM hosts disaster relief orientation session

If a tornado ripped through the middle of campus and blew the roof off the buildings, what would you do? On Nov. 1, the Baptist Student Ministry hosted an event to help prepare students for disaster scenarios and what they can do to help relieve such situations.

Mary Parrish, right, listens to Chuck Christian, center, as he gives a lecture on disaster relief. Halley Harrell/The Bells

Mary Parrish, right, listens to Chuck Christian, center, as he gives a lecture on disaster relief. Halley Harrell/The Bells

Senior nursing major Stephanie Garza learned about the disaster training opportunity through MyCampus. Though her nursing career will play a big part in her future, she decided attending the disaster relief training would help her prepare for unexpected circumstances now.

“On the side of actually having a nursing job, I want to help the community out if there’s ever a natural disaster like a tornado,” Garza said.

Garza joined 14 other students and local residents for the Disaster Relief Yellow Cap Orientation, the first level of response training through the Texas Baptist Men organization. For $10, volunteers completed orientation and received Disaster Response certified badges, which enable them to assist at future crises.

The session was led by Chuck Christian, leader of the food team for the Central Texas Disaster Relief Team.

“We acquired a feeding unit from south Texas and brought it to Belton,” he said. “The purpose of that unit (is to) go on call-out, to go provide hot meals for first responders and for the people that have been affected by the disaster.”

Christian and his unit were some of the responders at the April explosion in West. He believes responding to disasters provides the opportunity to be “Jesus with skin” to those affected by tragedy.

Orientation included the history of the Disaster Relief ministry and the traits of being a volunteer.

Some who attended the training session had ties to the explosion in West. Others wanted to be better equipped to help others in future incidents.

Arnold ‘Peewee’ and Carolyn Insall are two such people with a heart for ministering during disasters. Both chaplain-certified team members, they shared stories from their first experience of disaster response during a 10-day flood relief trip to El Paso.

“The second day it got bad,” Peewee said. “You’re not used to seeing all the devastation.”

Despite the sorrow, the Insalls discovered that serving those in need is the most rewarding part of being disaster responders.

“The people we touched, touched us more,” Carolyn said. “It’s such a wonderful feeling.”

Thanks to the Texas Baptist Men Disaster Relief staff and the BSM, students and volunteers have an opportunity to help when the need arises.

“When’s the last time you ever planned a hurricane? Or a tornado? You never know what to expect,” Christian said.

He encourages those who completed Yellow Cap Orientation to pursue further training in areas like childcare and chain saw certification.

“You’ve got to be proactive,” he said. “Get that field experience and come join us.”

The TBM Disaster Relief will hold another orientation session Nov. 16 at First Baptist Church in West. For more information, visit

Author: Halley Harrell

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