Huntsville disaster relief group spends weekend of heavy lifting in Gulf


HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — A team of Huntsville-based relief workers is back home after spending the weekend helping families recover from the damage left in the wake of Hurricane Sally.

The group, part of non-profit Prepare and Respond or PAR, was busy in Fairhope doing everything from removing trees from homeowners’ roofs and yards, to covering roofs with tarping to prevent further leaking.

“That wind just blew them over. Most of them were blown over as opposed to our tornadoes we see all the time at home with trees snapped in half and those types of things,” said PAR member Doug Herring.

The group used heavy equipment including a Bobcat, lift, chainsaws, and other essentials to aid in the effort. PAR helped one family remove a tree that was almost completely uprooted during the storm and about to fall on their home, near their children’s bedroom.

“The neighbor said yeah it leaned way over and got almost to the house, and when the wind gave up up, it just stood straight back up,” said Herring.

Down the road PAR members found another tree balanced against a transformer.

“We took it straight up, just lifted it up enough to get it off the transformer, then cut it away. That was the neighborhoods whole power,” said Herring.

The group’s most memorable project occurred at the home of an 83 year old widow, whose husband had dedicated years to being a disaster relief worker.

“They said he was number one on the spot, and when they called and told her we were working on her property, they said she just broke down because her husband had always worked on things like that for other people. Very rewarding in that helping somebody that has volunteered in their lifetime, and its kinds of a payback,” said Herring.

PAR volunteers say the widow drove 11 hours from where she had evacuated to say thank you to them. Organizers say they plan on returning to the region soon in order to undertake more relief work.

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