As preparations and plans were being made to assist Louisiana after Hurricane Laura, the Collegiate Disaster Relief (DR) Team at the Baptist College of Florida (BCF) was instructed to switch focus and stay put due to Florida being in the destructive path of another storm, Hurricane Sally.
On Sept. 26, BCF Associate Professor of Leadership and Collegiate Disaster Relief Director David Coggins and Associate Professor of Information Technology Cathy Bugg went with seven students and one alumnus as they made their way to serve the impacted communities in Pensacola.
While in Pensacola, the BCF DR Team worked alongside Florida Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers and many others who gave their time and resources to help those who were devastated by the storm.
They cleaned up fallen trees and other debris, fixed roofs that may have been leaking or damaged, and removed belongings from homes that had damage.
They stayed at a local church called Hillcrest Baptist and, in between their disaster relief efforts, they joined with other believers to pray and offer thanksgiving for God’s protection during the storm and during the cleanup efforts, school officials said in a press release.
Coggins and his team of students also sought to meet any spiritual needs of the hurting people that they came in contact with, officials said.
“Every trip is different and impacts me in different ways,” Coggins said in the release. “I think this one impacted me with a reminder of how many elderly there are out there (and that) when something like this happens, how much they need disaster relief to be there to help…One thing I took away is the resilience of our students to serve.
"There are some who made this trip as experienced DR volunteers and some who it was their first time. For the first time students, there is some timidity to start, but a willingness to learn and by the end of the trip they have learned to step in and quicker to get the work completed. But more important they are quick to engage the homeowner.
"This is true for the new ones, but especially for the more experienced students who really understand our mission is to minister to people along with the work, so they look for opportunities to talk with those who are needing that ministry" Coggins stated.
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