TAZEWELL COUNTY (WVVA) -- For more than 50 years, the Virginia Baptist Disaster Response Team has been assisting those affected by natural disasters.
"We respond all over the country, we've actually been to Puerto Rico," said volunteer Jeff Kinder. "Our primary goal is to get the homeowner back in the home as quickly as possible and as safe as possible."
Volunteers traveled more than 5 hours from Richmond to Tazewell County to assist flood victims, after heavy rains caused serious damage across parts of the area.
The team's 'mud-out' units are gutting and repairing damaged structures at no cost to the homeowner. It pays for the rebuilding through donations to help ease the financial burden of families who have potentially lost everything.
"They're losing what possessions a lot of them had," said Kinder. "We've been with families that - during times like this - don't know what to do, they don't know where to turn. So some of the money they maybe would've used for the reconstruction of the home -- they can use to get back some of those more personal items in their life."
But for volunteers, it's all part of a bigger picture.
"We use this as ministry," Kinder explained. "When somebody opens up their home to you, they open up their heart to you; it opens up a gate for you to have conversations you normally wouldn't. It means the world to us to be able to be there for them at a devastating time in their life to let them know they aren't going through it alone... that we're there to help them."
Volunteers from Virginia Baptist are working in Tazewell County all week. If you need their assistance, call 276-345-0920.