The month of October has been a month of excitement, anticipation, and new beginnings, reports Jane Yount, coordinator of Brethren Disaster Response for the Church of the Brethren General Board. The month represented a new beginning for leadership in the program, as 26 people from 13 states participated in two disaster project leadership trainings in Pensacola, Fla., and Lucedale, Miss.
These were the first trainings of their kind to be offered by Brethren Disaster Response, featuring real-life experience at actual disaster response project sites.
Each two-week training was filled with instruction and skill development sessions, as presenters from local disaster recovery groups, Disaster Response staff, and current project leadership provided special training in their field of expertise. In addition to staff, trainers included Bob and Marianne Pittman, Larry and Alice Petry, Brethren Volunteer Service workers Phil and Joan Taylor, and safety expert Steve Hollinger. The training focused on topics such as construction management, safety, volunteer management, meal planning, hospitality, and more.
Participants found it very beneficial to immediately put into practice what they were learning. “We aren’t here by accident, we’re here by blessing. We’ve learned from everybody here,” commented Eddie Motley, trainee from Southeastern District of the Church of the Brethren.
As the trainings have come to a close, the journey for these dedicated volunteers has just begun. They will continue their training by working with the leaders of current disaster response projects to hone their skills and become comfortable in the leadership roles.
“The enthusiasm of these volunteers has been uplifting and is a wonderful testament as they live out their faith,” said Yount.