North Texas

Texas Baptist Men Preparing Deployment to Dorian Relief

Just don’t ask them where exactly they are going

Dozens of volunteers with the Texas Baptist Men, an organization that has provided humanitarian aid in response to natural disasters for decades, will leave Dallas on Tuesday morning and head east toward Florida and Hurricane Dorian.

Just don’t ask them where exactly they are going.

"That’s the number one challenge – where are we going? We don’t have any idea," said Dwain Carter, the Director of Disaster Relief with TBM. "I saw a weather report that the hurricane warning is from West Palm Beach all the way up to Daytona Beach, so somewhere in that area is where we will be stationed, I’m sure. But we don’t know."

While the final destination is an open question, the task at hand is far from it.

The TBM have spent days readying equipment, including multiple, mobile kitchens capable of serving up to 21,000 meals in a four-hour span as well as units that transport mobile shower units, and other necessities.

On Monday, volunteers went through some final preparations before they departed for Florida.

"As it builds we start ramping up," executive director Mickey Lenamon said. "We started planning a week ago for our strategic response. We know this is potentially one of the largest storms ever to hit the United States."

On Saturday volunteers started to load up supplies to take wherever Hurricane Dorian hits.

"Hurricane Dorian is a constantly changing situation, so we're constantly shifting plans to respond as quickly as possible," said John Hall, TBM spokesman.

On a conference call Saturday morning, volunteers came together from across the state to find out more about when and where they will most likely be deployed.

"This morning, the track of the storm has changed to making landfall in Georgia or South Carolina," said Carter

Joe Crutchfield is one of 10,000 volunteers with the organization. He works in the feeding unit and is ready to be gone anywhere from one week to one month. depending on the need.

"The hurricane is coming, and we know that people are going to be in need and the first thing they're going to need is a hot meal, 25,000 to 30,000 meals a day," Crutchfield said.

It's all part of the organization's ministry to go to the most devastated places in our country and provide help to people in need.

"Because you're going to wake up in the morning in Florida and you're not going to have any electricity and water. Where do you to to eat?" Lenamon asked. "You start looking for the people in the yellow shirts."

"TBM seeks to give hope in the darkest moments of people's lives. We want to help people take the steps of recovery as quickly as possible," Hall said.

On Monday, seven flights were cancelled out of Dallas Love Field and 35 flights were cancelled out of DFW International Airport ahead of the storm. Across the country, nearly 600 flights were cancelled.

On Saturday, the office of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced the state would send 45 trained personnel and swift water rescue boats to assist first responders in Florida and along the U.S. Southeast.

NBC 5's Noelle Walker and Ben Russell contributed to this report.

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