Heed the Call

With Governor Greg Abbott's Rebuild Texas initiative looking to drive increased reliance on volunteers and faith-based organizations as a key factor in disaster recovery within the state, some growing pains were all but inevitable as these groups and other more established organizations like the Red Cross increased their interactions.

In the aftermath of the initial response to Hurricane Harvey, a pastor in the city of Nacogdoches, Charlie Colgan, has sought to find a way for the city's church leaders to express their concerns about their role in assisting refugees and evacuees from the storm. Seeking to hold a disaster review among pastors on November 27th, and having invited both members of the Red Cross and state officials, Colgan has already made some statements about the reasons behind his concerns, noting "The largest concern we had with this particular hurricane was organization, and we even had Red Cross volunteers apologize to us for the disorganization we had to experiences."

In contrast, the American Red Cross disaster program manager for the Deep East territory, Scott Brawley released a letter, in which it was stated "I strongly disagree with anyone at this AAR that commented the Red Cross was not prepared."

State Representative Travis Clardy (R -- Nacogdoches), in speaking of the disaster response and recovery efforts in which the Red Cross and local churches participated, observed, "I think we tweak what we've done. I really do think we have a fantastic model to build from and we can improve on it."

Colgan also notes of his proposed review that, despite this initial statement, "It's certainly going to be a conversation, so everyone will have a chance to speak into it. This is not a chance to bash anybody. We just want to find a better way to do this for the next time it happens."