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UC's Mountain Outreach donates trailer to SUMZBA Disaster Relief


The South Union Mount Zion Baptist Association of Williamsburg, Ky., receive a 14-foot enclosed trailer from UC's Mountain Outreach on April, Friday 13. The group plans to use the trailer for disaster relief. Pictured from left to right: Susan Hampton & David Hampton, co-directors of SUMZBA Disaster Relief; Marc Hensley, director of UC's Mountain Outreach; Jonathan Bowman, MO student coordinator; David Aker, SUMZBA director of missions; and Timothy Conlin, associate director and chaplain with SUMZBA Disaster Relief.

WILLIAMSBURG, Ky.— On April, Friday 13, the South Union Mount Zion Baptist Association (SUMZBA) of Williamsburg, Ky., received a 14-foot enclosed trailer by University of the Cumberlands’ (UC) Mountain Outreach. The donation was made when David and Susan Hampton, co-directors of the SUMZBA Disaster Relief ministry, recognized a great need following the March 2 tornadoes that devastated parts of Kentucky and approached the SUMZBA board.

Since the tornado outbreak ravaged parts of Kentucky, hundreds of people have volunteered hours of work to bring aid to the victims. The volunteers at South Union Mount Zion Baptist Association in Williamsburg, Ky. are no different, traveling to nearby East Bernstadt to cut trees, clear debris and provide comfort. Although the group has provided aid all over the world, this particular disaster spurred them to look for a way in which they could immediately help those nearby.

When they approached the SUMZBA board, one member—UC’s Mountain Outreach Director Marc Hensley—immediately had an idea. Hensley thought of a 14-foot trailer that had been stolen from MO and returned several years back. Although the trailer was in excellent condition upon its return, MO had “outgrown” it and was using larger trailers. Upon consulting several administrators at the University, including President Taylor, it was decided that MO should “absolutely” give the enclosed trailer to the disaster relief organization.

MO student coordinator Jonathan Bowman delivered the truck to the SUMZBA headquarters, along with Hensley. He first heard about the donation a few days before it took place.

“I thought it was awesome,” said Bowman. “It’s not going be sitting, it’s going be pulled all over the country to help people. And we’re going to have a small hand in that.”

The SUMZBA Disaster Relief recipients were equally excited to have the trailer.

"It's like candy and oranges on Christmas," said David Hampton as he walked around the trailer, looking at it much as a child would look at a treasured gift. "We really appreciate the college for the trailer. It means we can do things we wouldn't be able to do, and it's a better trailer than we could afford."

The group plans to equip the trailer with chainsaws, mud-out equipment (used for flooding) and a bathroom. They also plan to transport food and water.

Having the trailer means when a disaster occurs, "we could immediately go and help," said David Akers, director of missions at SUMZBA.

This will be a big help to an organization that has already volunteered much time and labor to help those in need in 2012. SUMZBA Disaster Relief is part of the KY Baptist Disaster Relief, and so far its members have volunteered 2,227 days providing relief all over the United States and overseas. They have completed 141 "mud-out" or flood cleanup jobs, 325 chainsaw jobs, and prepared 28,719 meals. The group has ministered to 68 children and seen 28 decisions for Christ. Although disaster relief is imperative, the latter numbers represent the true purpose of the group.

"Our first mission is to connect people with Christ," said Hampton. "And our second is to get them back in their homes."

Tim Conlon, assistant director of SUMZBA Disaster Relief and a chaplain with the organization, agreed as he describes providing relief in a devastated area. "Just getting people to talk about it starts the healing process," the former Somerset Community College professor and now full-time volunteer said.

The group plans to fill the trailer with equipment and make it ready for relief purposes immediately.

The purpose of SUMZBA is to advance the cause of Christ and to promote growth and edification of the churches by its counsels and assistance. It strives to maintain among the member churches a fellowship that puts into operation “the faith and practice” set forth in the New Testament.

Located in Williamsburg, Ky., University of the Cumberlands is an institution of regional distinction, which currently offers four undergraduate degrees in more than 40 major fields of study; nine pre-professional programs; seven graduate degrees, including a doctorate and six master’s degrees; certifications in education; and online programs.