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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Reaching Out

Posted By on Tue, Sep 2, 2008 at 3:36 PM


The Broadmoor Development Corporation and the Free Church of the Annunciation teamed up with a church in Tennessee to safely evacuate 31 special-needs people. Hal Roark, executive director for the BDC, says the 14-hour trip was worth it, but the evacuation and the hurricane threat have taken a toll on the evacuees.

     “People are really stressed, breaking down and crying,” Roark says.


More than a year ago, the BDC began offering case-management services for people displaced from Broadmoor. Roark says the majority of the folks were looking for housing assistance, but they added a question about evacuation on the intake form for case management. Some additional people came to the BDC’s attention through the Free Church. With Gustav approaching, the BDC contacted those on the list – mentally handicapped, young, old, and some suffering from mental illnesses – and arranged a caravan to Signal Mountain, Tenn., about an hour outside of Chattanooga.

     St. Timothy’s Episcopalian Church in Signal Mountain partnered with the BDC and the Free Church to provide shelter for the evacuees. With 95 out-of-state volunteers set to come and work in Broadmoor through the Free Church’s Annunciation Mission, food had been stocked, so the mission’s cook loaded the freezer on the bed of truck and headed for Tennessee.

     Roark, who has a masters degree in social work, says they plan on holding a Labor Day Picnic for their new friends in Tennessee and the evacuees. The cook will be barbequing the freezer’s supply of chicken and ribs, but Roark adds there is an ulterior motive: watching out for his flock.

     “This isn’t about a party,” Roark says. “This is trying to keep people’s minds off of the [hurricane], keeping them busy.”  


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