“Helping people in need is such a blessing,” Dowd said. “This new position gives me the opportunity to pay forward what I have learned during the past two years as I served in Winston County. Being able to develop and train more people and teams to respond to future disasters is a blessing. Passing along what it takes for a community to recover and how to put those pieces together is what I feel called to do at this point in my life.”
Mike Dowd was recently named the Disaster Relief Coordinator for the Starkville District of the United Methodist Church.
“With the experience from the tornado relief (in Winston County) two years ago, Rev. Mike Dowd will be a great asset to the Starkville District and the entire Conference,” said Starkville District Superintendent Dr. Embra Jackson. “The recent storms and subsequent flooding in various parts of the state is a reminder of the need for us to always be prepared to respond to disasters as they occur.”
“Preparation for a disaster is a bit like recovery from a disaster,” Dowd said. “It is a marathon, not a sprint. It will take time to develop all teams and train them. It will take time and money to build and equip the trailers. But if we make it a goal and continue to move forward, it can and will be accomplished. We need to be led by God in all we do and pray for His guidance in all things.”
As the new Starkville District Disaster Relief Coordinator, Dowd is making plans for quarterly training activities.
There are two specific areas where he would like to develop teams and gather supplies for emergency preparedness: First Response and Rebuilding Response.
“I see the district needing teams organized for both missions,” Dowd said. “These teams can be utilized for either local disasters or disasters further away from (the Golden Triangle area).”
Dowd would like to see the district have a tool trailer and a shower trailer. The shower trailer is something that can be sent to disaster areas and left for a long period of time. Dowd said there is never enough of that type of facility for volunteers. The tool trailer would be primarily for first response, with chainsaws and that type of equipment.
“I want people to understand that we must have teams and procedures in place before a disaster strikes,” Dowd said. “There is a great deal of coordination and training that needs to be in place to make any team effective and that needs to be done before the team is set to assist. I want people to learn that we need to be prepared for the disaster that strikes at home and the ones that strike our neighbors.”
Dowd would like to see teams working in association with the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) and the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD), both national and international disaster relief organizations, and make it a goal to be prepared to travel anywhere.
Dowd is the pastor at West Louisville United Methodist Church in Louisville.
For more information about the Starkville District of the United Methodist Church’s Disaster Relief plans, contact the District office at (662) 323-0198.
See this story in the May 13, 2016 edition of the Starkville District newsletter at 5-13-16 newsletter
See this story in the May 18, 2016 edition of The Winston County Journal at http://winstoncountyjournal.com/dowd-selected-for-disaster-relief-program/.