Recovery from Boonville Fire

Boonville+Fire+from+Hulbert+House

Dear Friends,

All of us are still reeling from the news of this week’s tragic fire that destroyed historic buildings, caused the death of several pets, and left 29 people homeless in our beloved village.

Churches and community agencies have all been quick to respond to this disaster, but special praise goes to our friends and neighbors at the Boonville Methodist Church and the quick-minded leadership of their new minister, Rev. Robert Dean.  Since the early hours of the fire, Rev. Dean made the church available as a command and resource center for survivors.  Donations of clothes, supplies, and gift cards have been generously pouring in from the community.

Taking a much-needed rest after almost two days of working around the clock, Rev. Dean and his family attended our Good Friday service.  Immediately after that service ended, my first words to him were, “What do you need from us?”  His first word back to me was, “Manpower.”

The most pressing need at the moment is for able hands to sort out donated clothes for distribution.  Families are continuing to come by the church daily for aid.  Volunteers have been assisting as they are able.  If any of you have time in the coming days and weeks, please lend a hand to the recovery effort at Boonville Methodist Church.  The building opens most days at 9:30am and closes at 5pm.

The word on the street is that the Boonville Chamber of Commerce will be setting up a special bank account next week to receive monetary donations on behalf of fire victims.  The American Red Cross has also set up operations in the village for helping those in need.  Contributions to that organization are always welcome.

Rev. Dean and I have also recognized the need for crisis counseling to be made available to these residents.  Together, we are currently trying to organize a network of local clergy for on-site support and are seeking to enlist the more qualified assistance of professional crisis counselors from other community service agencies.

Moments like these are when we get to show the world what we are made of.  May the Light of Christ rise up in us this Easter and shine hope into the darkness of despair!  May it be so.  Amen.

Be blessed and be a blessing,

Rev. J. Barrett Lee

6 thoughts on “Recovery from Boonville Fire

  1. This ecumenical response to disaster is the very hand of God working for salvation. When Hurricane Charley slammed into our little agricultural island at 146 mph in 2004, it turned our community into a moonscape. Worst hit were the migrant workers (many of them undocumented) who’d lived in a tenement trailer camp. There was nothing left of their homes. Four island pastors — Catholic, Lutheran, Episcopal, and United Methodist (my hubbie) banded together to form a recovery center for them which continued in operation for 8 years. My proudest moment was when Scott heard that Homeland Security was poised outside the water distribution center, ready to pick up and deport anyone without papers. He got on the phone and reamed them out. I’d never thought I’d be proud to hear him use blue language. All of you pastors are worn out as Lent ends and Easter approaches. Now the fire. Yet to add this recovery work to your already heavy load is something you seem to do naturally. It’s a privilege to witness. Prayers for your community will be offered at our church on Easter Sunday.

  2. Shannon Westcott

    I live in Holland Patent now but was a happy Boonville resident for several years. I have clothes I would like to donate, as well as bedding but I am unable to bring it to Boonville as I don’t have a vehicle. How can I get it there??

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