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Post-Ike efforts

Self-reliance and service continued as Church members in Texas took relief efforts through a second full week after Hurricane Ike pounded the states southeast coastline.
Photo by Glen HancockMembers from the Austin Texas Stake help clear trees at Lake Jackson Texas residences. Clean-up and relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Ike continued into the second week in southeastern Texas and Louisiana.
Unleashing its hardest hit Sept. 13 on the Houston and Galveston areas Ike left in its wake 31 deaths 2.6 million without power initially in Texas and Louisiana alone and billions of dollars of damage in eight states. (Please see an earlier report in the Sept. 20 issue of Church News.)
Church leaders throughout southeast Texas reported no deaths nor serious injuries to members or missionaries.
Instead they echoed refrains of self-reliance. For the most part our members took care of their own houses first said President Eric H. Petersen of the Beaumont Texas Stake and then took care of other members and then went out into the community.
Added President Daniel W. Martin of the Bay City Texas Stake: Were getting quite a reputation for being prepared and our neighbors are taking note of that.
With his stake covering nearly a third of the Texas coastline President Martin said plenty of work orders remain to be completed.
Several local meetinghouses are without full power he added. Three wards held Sunday Sept. 21 sacrament meetings inside a warm Lake Jackson chapel partially powered by a pair of generators.
In his stake President Petersen reported ongoing power outages — some to be without as long as Oct. 6 by some estimates. Two Beaumont area meetinghouses were among the half dozen hosting makeshift mini-bishops storehouses.
Ten days after Ike some 35 member homes were destroyed and another 260 serious damaged. Those numbers will rise substantially as Galveston Island reopened to residents Sept. 24.
Galveston and much of the south Houston area lie in the Friendswood Texas Stake with President Jonathan S. Schmitt reporting the Galveston meetinghouse suffered less damage than initially feared.
Life after Ike allows our Saints to draw on the same reserves that our pioneers drew upon he said.
Three buildings in the Friendswood Stake remained without power as members met outside for abbreviated Sept. 21 meetings.
The day before in Brazoria and Galveston counties 103 Church-sponsored work crews comprised of 631 individuals attended to 290 homes including more than 100 homes of first-responders such as police firefighters and paramedics.
Lone Star State stakes from as far away as Dallas San Antonio and Austin have sent crews to join in clearing fallen trees and distributing much-needed commodities and equipment.
President Stewart W. Dickson of the Austin Texas Stake sent crews from four stakes on a four-hour drive to Lake Jackson to work Sept. 20 saying not only were service recipients blessed but so were those providing the service.
Church leaders there followed the parable of the great supper in Luke going to the highways and hedges to invite prospective elders less-active members and nonmembers to join the effort President Dickson said. It created a great unity and camaraderie that will not be soon forgotten.
E-mail to: taylor@desnews.com
Relief by the numbers
Food equipment and relief supplies provided by the Church in Texas alone in the wake of Hurricane Ike:
• The equivalent of 26 truckloads of supplies
• 33600 hygiene kits
• 16118 cleaning kits
• Five truckloads of water
• 12780 blankets
• 8200 food boxes to sustain a household of four for seven to 10 days
• Other relief items: sleeping bags tools chain saws and tarps.
• Six mini-bishops storehouses established in local Church meetinghouses
Source: LDS Emergency Response

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