Colleyville group reflects on disaster relief mission in Baton Rouge

Six North Texas men reflect on their Labor Day weekend service trip in Louisiana. Demond Fernandez reports.

COLLEYVILLE, Texas – Chris Clark says he and his friends have a special bond. They are bonded, Clark says, by their love of God. It was their friendship and faith that inspired them to spend Labor Day weekend in Baton Rouge, fixing the homes of several flood victims.

“We’re pretty exhausted, to be honest with you,” Clark said as he and his five friends returned to Colleyville from their mission trip in Baton Rouge.

The trip was grueling. The men say they saw and encountered a lot.

“The smell and the visual sites of it all was sad, but it was also disgusting,” Clark explained. “I mean, there had been water sitting in people’s houses for weeks.”

Clark and his friends say they spent most of their time repairing damage at the house of Eddie and Shirley Woods.

“He’s 91 and she is 85,” said Luke Hejl.

The team says the Woods’ house, like all of their neighbors, was in bad shape. The flood in Baton Rouge left homes filled with mold, rats and insects.

The men worked through it. They say water reduced the Woods’ and many other families’ mementos to piles of debris on the streets.

“I asked them, ‘Hey, do you want to take a look at your house, what we’ve been working on?,’” Brent Hughes said. “And he said, ‘No, I don’t think I can…I can’t do that right now.’”

For the group of friends, their bond is growing stronger through service.

“Working side-by-side, to help other people, you become tight after that,” said Clint Wright.

Before leaving Baton Rouge, the guys learned Eddie Woods is a World War II veteran.
Among the mush, the men found something precious.

“His American flag was sitting near the house,” Ryan Bradley explained. “It was all drenched and looked like it had some mold on it. I said, ‘This thing needs to be hung in the air.’”

The guys grabbed an iron piece. They raised Eddie Woods’ flag for all of his neighbors to see.

“We’re always going to remember that,” Bradley said.

The men volunteered through the Churches of Christ Disaster Response Team. They say there is still much work to do for the flood victims in Baton Rouge. Clark says insurance will not help a majority of the victims.

The men say anyone interested in helping the disaster relief effort can make donations directly to the South Baton Rouge Church of Christ or through a GoFundMe page set up by the group.

Copyright 2016 WFAA


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