Mel Johnson says he can still see the scars from April 27, 2011, on the landscape when he drives up I-22 in northwest Alabama. Those will be there for years. So will the tough memories and lingering grief many have from that day.
But one thing Johnson says those deadly storms didn’t touch is “the mission of reaching our world.”
He saw that mission advance a lot in the aftermath of that historic tornado outbreak.
Within 72 hours, volunteers from Alabama and 11 other states had rallied to help with disaster relief efforts across the state. That included all kinds of help from chainsaw and cleanup to child care and chaplaincy.
Johnson estimates there were more than 11,000 volunteers “with boots on the ground — that’s a staggering number,” said Johnson, who served as disaster relief strategist for Alabama Baptists in 2011.
Those volunteers poured into the lives of people who were picking up the pieces across the 42 counties declared federal disaster areas…(continued)