August 6, 3:25 p.m. 

Rio Texas Conference is hiring for Disaster Response Case Managers. Please visit our employment page for more information. 

July 13, 3:45 p.m.

ERT teams are needed in the Corpus Christi area to assist in clean up.  Floods and tornados occurred some time ago but assistance with clean up has not been available.  Contact Rev. Beth Tatum at beth.tatum@yahoo.com.  Phone: 713-724-8873

If you are not ERT certified, there are now three training dates scheduled. Please click here to register for Early Response Team training. 

July 10, 10 AM

Many families are now in need of help as they rebuild and repair their homes following several disaster events since Memorial day.  The most highly publicized of these is the Blanco River Flood which did damage from Blanco to Luling.  A regional long term recovery organization is being formed.  I anticipate this effort to be well underway within the next few weeks. 

A far less known disaster occurred in Bastrop County.  Several hundred homes were damaged by flooding rains and two small tornadoes that occurred a couple of days after Memorial day.  We are now recruiting teams to assist families to repair their homes. This effort is being headed by the Bastrop Long Term Recovery Team and they are ready for teams right now.

Churches or other groups interested in being a part of this effort should register on the Rio Texas Conference Home Page.  The URL is http://riotexas.org/disaster-recovery-team-registration.  You could be helping families immediately but we also encourage you to register for future dates so we can begin to plan for teams as additional work becomes available.

I encourage United Methodist Churches  and individuals  to channel their resource through the Conference.  In the Rio Texas Conference, Disaster Response is always done as part of a cooperative effort with partners including other denominational groups and nonprofits under the umbrella of a Long Term Recovery Organization led by people from the communities in which the disaster occurred.  This way we can use our resources where they are most needed.

Please feel free to call if you would like talk about the part you can play at this time when so many families in our area have been devastated by disasters. 


Eugene Hileman
Disaster Response Coordinator
Rio Texas Conference United Methodist Church

July 7, 11 a.m.

We are in need of Disaster Recovery Team Volunteers for Bastrop. Please click here to register for Disaster Recovery Team. 

We anticipate calls for recovery teams in additional areas in the near future. 

There are two additional Early Response Team (ERT) Training Registrations available in August. Prepare for the next natural disaster by registering here. 

June 23, 1:15 p.m.

Work continues by our Crossroads Disaster Response Teams in Martindale.  A number of ERTs began cleaning out the home of woman that has been hospitalized and has not had assistance yet regarding the flood.  The Salvation Army was also enlisted.

Also, this past week brought more rain to the Crossroads District. No reported flooding in Edna but folks in El Campo, Wesley Chapel had placed sand bags and plastic around the entrance in preparation.  Some local homes did have water in parts of their homes.  

These areas in the Crossroads District continue to be designated sites for flood bucket drop-off: Edna, Luling, LaGrange, Columbus, Victoria and Seguin.

June 19, 3:20 p.m.: More Assistance Needed in Bastrop County

Bastrop county was struck by two tornadoes and flooding rains on May 25 the day following the floods on the Blanco River. They have received very little help and still have 100 work orders for chain saws, home clean out and roof tarping.

We are asking for ERT teams to deploy as soon as possible.

Teams should register on the Rio Texas Conference website

Individuals (or small numbers that cannot make up a full team) should contact Larry Etter at lasmisionesert@gmail.com

Teams have already committed to deploying this Saturday and Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of next week.  The could use more volunteers on those teams.

June 17, 12:15 p.m.:

We still need teams of volunteers (10 volunteers or more) for the following areas:

  • San Marcos
  • Wimberley
  • Blanco
  • Martindale

Volunteers teams are needed on the following dates:

  • June 20-21
  • June 22-26
  • June 27-28
  • June 29 - July 3
  • July 4-5
  • July 6-10 

You do not need to have ERT certification to sign-up. Click Here for registration instructions and details. 

Are nearby United Methodist churches willing to host teams? Seguin, New Braunfels, Buda, Blanco, North Shore, Gruene?  Others UMCs are using space for local youth groups working with Southside, plus we’d like to keep this as flex space in case the need grows.  A space for teams to put down sleeping bags, an overnight parking lot, plus showers and a kitchen are really appreciated. If you are a UMC in this area and would like to host some volunteer teams, please e-mail connect@serveSanMarcos.org

June 3, 1:30 p.m.: Can't attend this Saturday's ERT Training in Seguin? That's fine. Register for the June 27 ERT Training in Spicewood, Texas here. Be sure to select "June 27 in Spicewood," when registering.  

June 3, 10:45 a.m.: Only ERT Volunteer Teams (groups of individuals with ERT badges and background checks from previous 5 years) from inside the Rio Texas Conference will now be accepted. Click Here to register an ERT Volunteer Team. 

Do you need an ERT Badge? Want to be ERT certified? Attend this Saturday's ERT Training at First United Methodist Church in Seguin. Can't attend that training? There's another one on June 27. Be sure to select "June 27 in Spicewood," when registering.  Registration is on the same page. 

Flood Buckets may be donated to your local church or the United Methodist Center at 16400 Huebner Road in San Antonio, Texas. Bishop Dorff is asking for flood buckets to be resupplied at our warehouse. 

Churches that are accepting flood buckets at this time:  

    First UMC Seguin - Pastor Andy Smith
     First UMC Victoria - Pastor Jarrell Sharp 
     First UMC Edna - Pastor Adam R. Knapp   
     First UMC Luling - Pastor Madeline Henners
     FUMC Columbus - District Lay Leader Dale Alexander
     FUMC LaGrange - Rev. J. Paul Bruhm
    First United Methodist Church in Seguin
    First United Methodist Church in Victoria
    First United Methodist Church in Edna

June 2, 11:45 a.m.: There is an ERT Training for anyone who wants to get their ERT Badge and certification this Saturday, June 6 at First United Methodist Church in Seguin. Please click here to register. You can also register for the Saturday, June 27 ERT Training in Spicewood, Texas on that page as well. Be sure to select "June 27 in Spicewood," when registering.  

Please review the flyer below for more information:

May 29, 10:00 a.m.: The current phase of the response is being managed by the conference, where Gene Hileman is the disaster response coordinator. At this stage, the conference’s Early Response Teams are clearing water, mud and debris out of houses. If you have trained and badged ERTs, please register as an ERT Team here. If not, please attend ERT training at Wimberely UMC this Saturday morning, May 30 at 8 a.m. by registering here. The training lasts all day and costs $30, and for that the trainee becomes a member of a working team, with badge and t-shirt. 

Volunteer Registration Centers: A second way to join the response is to go to Blanco, Wimberley or San Marcos and register at a Volunteer Registration Center in San Marcos (Plaza Park, 206 North CM Allen) or Wimberley (Cypress Creek Church, 211 Stillwater), which are the official points of contact for volunteers and the response management group.

Blanco, TX: Volunteers for Blanco, which also had flood catastrophe but has had much less media attention, is registering volunteers at city hall, on the square across from the old courthouse.  

Want to volunteer? Just show up in Caldwell County only. Caldwell County  is another that had substantial damage but little media attention, and therefore little relief aid. They’ll have a Volunteer Reception Center open at the Martindale Baptist Church tomorrow morning for a workday. Individuals will be registered, background checked, and provided identification and a work assignment for the day. Individuals need not to give notice, just show up. 

Clothes Donation in San Marcos: Todd Salmi at FUMC San Marcos (129 West Hutchison) is asking for new or gently used children’s clothing…all articles of clothing from shoes to caps…and sizes from newborn to high school. No used underwear or socks, though; they need to be new and still in the original package. They’re open 9-4. El Buen Pastor is asking for the same at 209 East Grove.

Register to volunteer in Hays County: Hays County also has a volunteer coordination center. They ask that you email hayscoflood@hays.tx.us with the name of the organization, name of the contact person with email and phone numbers, the number of people you want to bring, and what special skills, tools or resources they may have. They’ll get back to you when they’re ready for you.

May 28, 11:45 a.m.: The following churches in the Crossroads District are now flood bucket drop off and distribution sites:

     First UMC Seguin - Pastor Andy Smith
     First UMC Victoria - Pastor Jarrell Sharp 
     First UMC Edna - Pastor Adam R. Knapp   
     First UMC Luling - Pastor Madeline Henners

     FUMC Columbus - District Lay Leader Dale Alexander
     FUMC LaGrange - Rev. J. Paul Bruhm

May 28, 10:15 a.m.: First United Methodist Church in Seguin, First United Methodist Church in Victoria and First United Methodist Church in Edna are accepting flood buckets at this time. 

May 26, 11:15 a.m.: Individuals who wish to be part of the Rio Texas Disaster Response Early Response Team Training will have an opportunity this Saturday, May 30 at Wimberley UMC. Please Click Here to register and be sure to select "May 30 in Wimberley, TX."

There will be an additional training Saturday, June 6, 2015 at First United Methodist Church, Seguin.  Please Click Here to register and be sure to select "June 6  in Seguin, TX."

Volunteers from out-of-town conferences: If you already have ERT Training with a background check from AT LEAST the last five years, and would like to assemble a volunteer team, please click here to register your ERT Volunteer team. 

May 26, 10 a.m.: There are two Early Response Teams and a Chainsaw Team working in Wimberley, TX. 360 Flood Buckets have been distributed. ERT Team registrations are now available below.  

Important Links to Information:

Hill Country District Facebook Page

Wimberly Flood 2015 Facebook Page

Serve San Marcos Facebook Page - Sign up for Volunteer

Texas Division of Emergency Management’s Morning Situation Report

Watch a video on how to assemble a flood bucket


Other notes

Please take a moment to read the following note from George Barnette, Missions Chairman from the Hill Country District:

Thoughts on flood relief:

Please follow Vicki McCuiston's (Wimberley) request and DO NOT send in-kind donations to a flood area unless you have talked to a recipient and they know it is coming and confirm it is needed. Unsolicited in-kind donations (food, water, clothing, etc) are more likely to go to a landfill than to a survivor.

Please do not go to a flood area to "help out" without connecting with the local response organizers, or going with an outside organization which is connected. Spontaneous volunteers may be useful, but are more likely to be wasting their time than helping. And if you're found in a disaster area without ID and group affiliation, you may be arrested as a suspected looter.

If you want to help, hold your eagerness in check; unless you are a trained member of a Rio Texas Early Response Team, your turn will come later, perhaps by the end of June, and continuing through the summer, as mission teams are formed to go do the sweat-work of repairing and rebuilding damaged or destroyed homes.

If you want to join a team, please do it through your church, to keep things organized and orderly. If your church isn't forming a team, let me know and I'll connect you with one that needs more members. If you are not an Early Response Team member, your help will be needed later more than now.

If you are managing your flood-area church's response and need immediate assistance cleaning out flooded houses, contact the conference disaster response coordinator, Gene Hileman, 210-557-8698.

If you are managing your flood-area church's response and will need mission teams for rebuilding and repair later in the summer, let me know (george@bnpr.com, 713-252-2288) so we can get you on the schedule.

If you are not in a flood area, please start a collection at your church. Dollars are going to be critical as construction materials are needed to fix damaged homes, and once the floods are out of the headlines -- which will happen sooner than you might think -- donations will be harder to get.