Lutheran pastors, members volunteer in Harvey cleanup

Amber Aldaco By Amber Aldaco

Sept. 8, 2017 at 3:57 p.m.

Morgan O'Brien places a tarp over dried goods, diapers and bottles of water outside of Joy Ministries in Refugio.

Morgan O'Brien places a tarp over dried goods, diapers and bottles of water outside of Joy Ministries in Refugio.   Ana Ramirez for The Victoria Advocate

Emmett Gloyna looked out the window of his house after Hurricane Harvey swept through the area and wondered how to clean his yard that was littered with trees and branches.

The 82-year-old would not have to worry too long. Gloyna and his wife, Deborah, received a visit from several volunteers Sept. 1, ready to chop up the debris.

"I've never seen such workers in my life," Gloyna chuckled.

The volunteers at the Gloyna's residence was one of several teams of 60 Lutheran pastors and church members from throughout Texas who traveled to the Crossroads to help clean up residences and properties after Hurricane Harvey left devastation in its path.

With tools provided by Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod Christian Aid & Relief, volunteers from Victoria, Edna, Austin, Dallas, Houston and Wisconsin were able to clean residences in Victoria, Edna, Tivoli and Seadrift. The volunteers cleaned more than 60 yards from Thursday through Monday and would start their days at 8 a.m. with devotion and work until the evening, said Andrew Schroer, pastor at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Edna.

The physical help was welcomed by Terry Tucker, who lives in Mission Valley and had several acres that had more than one dozen trees that were strewn across her land.

"It was something they didn't have to do, but did it out of the goodness of their hearts," Tucker, 69, said. "It was very generous, and I appreciate it greatly."

Gloyna said he, too, appreciated the volunteer work. Several of the large oak trees at Gloyna's Silverado Trail residence were uprooted. One of the uprooted trees landed on the patio and blocked the back door, he said. What he thought would take half a day's work, the volunteers accomplished in an hour.

"They were able to save two of the trees, including Deborah's fig tree. She loves figs and it looks like the tree is going to make it," Gloyna said. "These people practiced what they preach - helping their neighbor."


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