On October 27, six representatives of Memorial Presbyterian Church in Elizabethton made a three day sojourn on behalf of Mission to North America to help with disaster recovery and restoration from the ravages of the April tornadoes. The group included Doug Thomas, Millard King, Lynn Brown (Roan Mountain), Duane Peterson (Doeville), Ed Robinson and Ramon Sanchez-Vinas.

The group reported back: Do you remember the old movies where the wagon train comes under attack? The wagons were usually circled, a defensive battle ensued and when it was all over, the wagon train proceeded over the horizon and into the sunset. Do you get the visual? The immediate threat had been met and everyone went back to their normal routine.

That’s somewhat how this trip went, but with a different outcome. After a four-hour early dawn trip to just east of Collegedale, Tenn., we arrived at “Open House,” a disaster relief outpost in the middle of a lot of devastation. It was surreal. Trees broken off like toothpicks, the familiar blue tarps everywhere, homes damaged or simply obliterated.

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