Ahead Of The Storm: Missouri Nonprofit Has New Campus Equipped To Respond To Disasters

Convoy of Hope has a new 240-acre campus, less than three hours from Tulsa, in Springfield, Missouri. Leaders at the nonprofit said when feelings of panic and helplessness set in, their volunteers set out to respond.

Thursday, April 4th 2024, 7:58 pm



-

Even in the worst weather, we see the best of our neighbors. People come from all over to help pick up the pieces after a damaging storm. An organization across the state line is more prepared than ever to send in help.

After a disaster hits, there is no time to think and, for some, nowhere to turn. The disaster response for events like the 2013 Moore tornado takes local, state and federal resources, along with nonprofits and volunteers stepping in to help.

Convoy of Hope has a new 240-acre campus, less than three hours from Tulsa, in Springfield, Missouri. Leaders at the nonprofit said when feelings of panic and helplessness set in, their volunteers set out to respond.

"Well, I would say the Lord’s hand is on it, for one thing...But it's the people of Convoy of Hope. The people who work here truly have hearts to serve,” Convoy of Hope National Spokesperson Ethan Forhetz said.

For as much as people don't know what to think after their lives have been turned upside down, Convoy has already thought of every little detail.

"Following a disaster, the stores are closed. Young parents can’t get stuff, and you need diapers. They ran out of diapers,” Forhetz said. "Really, everything in here can be mobilized. Whether it has wheels on it or we haul it."

Stacy Lamb grew up in Shawnee, Oklahoma, and now leads the disaster services team in Springfield. Last year's Shawnee tornado hit home for him, literally.

"Kinda surreal because one of the neighborhoods that was hit in Shawnee was actually where I lived when I was 16 years old. So I drove past that home that was not destroyed but had some damage,” Lamb said.

Lamb’s job includes overseeing a 37-thousand-square-foot garage with 100 pieces of equipment inside, like surprisingly comfortable bunkhouses, retro-fitted mobile command RVs, and a mobile kitchen that can feed hundreds of volunteers a day. It’s all self-sustaining with diesel generators.

"We wanna be able to roll into a community, and not be a burden and say, ‘Hey, we can do this, but we need a place to stay, and we need meals or whatever.’ We wanna roll in and say, ‘We're just here to help you,” Lamb said.

The entire organization only has 352 employees based in the U.S., and that means they need a lot of volunteers.

"My husband and I like to refer to ourselves as the worker bees. We come and do whatever is needed at the time, for whatever Convoy needs to do,” Margee Yoshimura said.

"They really wanna be part of the solution. They wanna do their part to make people's lives better. It's the kindness of everybody in this organization that I think makes it work,” Forhetz said.

"You just look at how much Convoy is able to do out of a place like Springfield. It's truly incredible,” Lead Volunteer Michael Ruether said.

Volunteers at Convoy of Hope have responded to everything from wars to recent water crises in McAlester and Bixby.

They responded to 86 disasters in 2023 alone. It takes a lot of money to do all that. Convoy of Hope does it debt-free, out of debt-free buildings.

"We get calls from emergency managers all over the country, going, ‘Do you have water? Can you help us?’ Lamb said. "Because of our generous donors and because we have the resources stocked, we’re able to say yes."

logo

Get The Daily Update!

Be among the first to get breaking news, weather, and general news updates from News 9 delivered right to your inbox!

More Like This

April 4th, 2024

June 23rd, 2024

June 23rd, 2024

June 23rd, 2024

Top Headlines

June 23rd, 2024

June 23rd, 2024

June 23rd, 2024

June 22nd, 2024