St Simon Peter’s presence was evident throughout the restoration in Shoal Creek Valley following the tornadoes of April 27, 2011.
John Rickards, St Simon Peter Episcopal Church’s coordinator of tornado relief for Shoal Creek recently presented a check for $5,000 to Carl Brownfield, of Shoal Creek Valley, to help cover matching funds needed for a FEMA grant to construct two community tornado shelters. Additionally, the Episcopal Diocese of Alabama also contributed over $4,400 to the cause.
In all, St Simon Peter Episcopal Church and the Episcopal Diocese of Alabama contributed over $17,000 and many hours of labor to, in some small way, help the Shoal Valley Community put their lives back together. Rickards, who served as full time coordinator for most of the year, credited the parish with providing him the opportunity to work with a very special group of people over this period.
He said that with the support of the parish, financially, spiritually and in physical labor, there was much work accomplished in Shoal Creek Valley. The opportunity to meet and work with volunteers from other churches was a most rewarding experience, and coming to know the people of Shoal Creek Valley provided an insight into a least some of what we as a community can do to help our neighbors.
The recovery effort provided an opportunity to reach out to the community in several ways:
• Helping to establish a computerized record of the residents along Shoal Creek Valley Road.
• Starting the program to provide fuel for heavy equipment which the county later contributed funding.
• Collecting and donating tools, which were used by residents to get started on the cleanup and recovery.
• Building decks and wheelchair ramps for handicapped people.
• Clean up trees and debris in yards and fields.
• Compiling a list of needs within the community of Shoal Creek Valley.
• Working with the Baptist church to build a house for a family.
• Helping to build four Habitat for Humanity house projects.
• Hosting — one group of young people from Christ Church in Needham, Mass. and another group from Grace Church in Camden, S.C.
• Coordinating work by local contractors to assist in completing work.
• Installing insulation in a house being constructed by a family working on their own.
• Helping to install interior walls for a house under construction.
• Working with local businesses to obtain discounts for materials used in the rebuilding efforts.
• Establishing a relationship with the Diocese Disaster Recovery program.
• Obtaining some Disaster Recovery Training, which will be useful in the future.
• Our Christmas families last year were all from the Shoal Creek Valley.
• Learning the workings of the local and state disaster recovery operations.
• Providing funds to help build two shelters for the residents of the Shoal Creek Valley area.