Local church's disaster relief team helps with storm damage cleanup across the valley

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JOPPA, Ala. - The Decatur Church of Christ Disaster Relief Team is lending a hand to neighbors across the Tennessee Valley. Their crew is traveling to the worst-hit areas and helping remove trees and debris from Saturday's storms.

Leaders of the Disaster Relief Team say serving the community and showing others the love of Christ is just what they do.  But their service Monday specifically, held extra weight and meaning.

"If you need a tarp on your roof you need it immediately to keep damage from happening, so we try to be there as soon as the storm clears," said Cody Michael.

The team started with relief efforts in Decatur directly after the storms cleared on Saturday. By Monday, they made their way to Joppa, Alabama in Cullman County to lend a hand.

Brandi Parr is one of several people in Joppa that had fallen trees on her property. She said she had no idea how they were going to get the tree off the building on her property until the Disaster Relief Team showed up at her door.

"He said they come out and help people who don't have a lot of money because it can be expensive," said Brandi Parr.

Parr said at first, she wasn't sure about answering when she heard a knock on the door, but she is glad that she did.

"It's a really comforting feeling to know that there are still people out there that want to help others," said Parr.

The team worked both Saturday and Sunday with chainsaws and hammers in hand to meet the needs of their community.

"In order for us to be a Christian and to be living like Christ, we have to be servants as well," said Michael.

Cody Michael says while they always strive to serve others and share God's love, they went out on Monday with an extra mission: to serve in honor of their late friend Tony Watts.

"He went on every trip with us that he could go on, that he had the ability. It didn't matter if you just lost your home, we would make you smile," said Michael about Watts.

Monday would have been Watts' birthday. Michael says they were determined to get out and help others in his honor.

"This is in his memory as we look back on the legacy that Tony left us, to be more like Christ," said Michael.

Their work isn't over yet, the crew is heading out for Laurel, Mississippi Tuesday morning to continue cleanup efforts.

"This will be the first trip we have taken since Tony passed, and we miss him. But the example he left behind to be like Jesus we will never forget and we will never take that for granted," said Michael.

Michael says every service the disaster relief team provides is free of charge and made possible by volunteers and community donations.

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