By Stan Friedman
PADUCAH, KY (May 2, 2011) – Several hundred members of Four Rivers Covenant Church have spent the last week helping the community attempt to stave record flooding that is overwhelming the area and which already has claimed the homes of church families, pastor Brad Henson said this morning.
Volunteers began filling sandbags on April 25 when government officials set up stations throughout the county in anticipation of the Ohio River flooding. Since then members have delivered sandbags, helped build levees, and move furniture before waters overtook some homes.
The church holds four services each Sunday, but they were abbreviated yesterday so people would have more time to help fend off the rising waters. Four Rivers set up childcare at its facility so that families with small children could assist others in the community. City leaders and individuals are using the congregation’s Facebook page to let the public know where assistance is needed.
Many of the people being assisted have not been connected with the church. One post noted that water was threatening a mobile home and help was needed picking up sandbags from a local high school and building a wall. Another post alerted readers that a small one-story home was threatened, as was the house next door, where an elderly couple lived.
Henson said he didn’t have a specific number of congregation members whose homes have been flooded, but said “quite a few” already have been affected, and that number is expected to increase. A judge ordered the mandatory evacuation of portions of Livingston County, where approximately 50 church members live.
Congregation members spent the morning erecting a wall to protect the home of volunteer worship leader Terry Freeman. Freeman and his wife, Tangilla, spent Sunday helping others.
Portions of Paducah are protected by floodgates, but others still are at risk, according to the National Weather Service.
Henson said he expects church members will continue to offer assistance in the weeks to come. “Some of our folks are going to let people stay in their homes, and we’ll help with cleanup when that begins.”