PFLUGERVILLE, Texas — Mike Northen was surprised to get the call before Hurricane Ian made landfall.
"Normally, we wouldn't be called out this early because there are a lot of states between us and Florida that could send resources, but there's not many kitchens this big," Northen said as he stacked propane tanks and supplies for the drive ahead. "They know they're going to need something big, so that's why we're driving 18 hours to get wherever we're going to go."
He hasn't been given his location assignment just yet, so he expects a call from the Southern Baptist Convention Thursday with additional details. Northen, who leads one of the Texas chapters of the organization, has responded to disaster relief calls since 2005.
"I got right in the back end of Katrina and then Rita hit," Northen remembered. "I was on my way to deploy to Katrina, and Rita came and we had to pull up in a safe area. Well, we were already there and it happened to be my hometown of all places, or it hit my parents who live there."
According to Northen, there will be about 20 people from Southern Baptist Texas Convention going to Florida throughout the next week. He will be part of the first three SBTC members to arrive in Florida, bringing two trailers with them.
"If it's like some of the ones I've seen before, we'll see dead animals in the road. You're going to see boats in the road. You're going to smell smells that, you know, is not good news," Northen said. "You're going to see electrical wires, downed telephone poles, broke in half. You're going to see water standing where, you know, it's not supposed to be standing."
Northen recommends donating to organizations sending trained volunteers rather than random people going to Florida to see where they can help.
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