Moving from relief to long-term recovery in southern Indiana as a result of March 2 tornadoes which destroyed homes in half a dozen towns, Conference Disaster Response and Volunteers in Mission teams approved major Long-Term Recovery (LTR) grants March 30.

The grants will assist storm survivors to reclaim what was left of their homes. For some survivors, it will help them rebuild their homes from the ground up. The Indiana Conference teams approved $30,000 in grant money to be used for the salary of a casework manager for long-term recovery in the southern Indiana.

Another $25,000 was approved for the salary of a cook at the LTR Volunteer Center called the ROC (Restoring Our Community). These two positions are part of the three-county March2recovery LTR committee recently formed through the Indiana Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (INVOAD), including the Indiana Conference of The United Methodist Church and the United Methodist Committee on Relief.

Smaller local church grants were approved for the purchase of barbed wire, so farmers who raise live stock in pastures will be able to contain their herds.

Another local churdh grant was approved to assist volunteers in building a garage for a Henryville woman whose garage was destroyed to its foundation during the deadly March 2 tornadoes. She used the garage as a beauty shop.

At the end of March, the disaster response fund at the Indiana Conference Center had $338,000, giving witness to the generosity of Hoosier United Methodists.

Volunteers needed

According to the Rev. Jim Byerly, Indiana Disaster Response Team member, “United Methodist individuals and groups can now register for volunteer work to help southern Indiana tornado survivors in long-term recovery.” He said there are two important steps and organizations to assist volunteers in mission coming to the area.

First, volunteers can register for a work assignment through the March 2 Recovery Volunteer Reception Center for Affiliate Organizations open from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. seven days a week. The Volunteer Reception Center for Affiliate Organizations, including The United Methodist Church, is now located at the Country Lake Christian Retreat Center north of Henryville.

To volunteer as individuals or groups, register online at then “CLICK HERE” if you have a group to register. A volunteer will return phone calls as soon as possible. Byerly explained that even the phones are answered by available volunteers giving their time for this effort.

Groups are scheduled from 6 p.m. Sunday to Friday morning. Volunteers will leave from Country Lake Christian Retreat Center (see information below) to go to their work sites and leave from the work site for home on Friday. Each United Methodist group needs to secure its own insurance from UMVIM. Forms are available online at then click on Volunteers in Mission Forms in left column of the web page.

Second, volunteers can make reservations with the Country Lake Christian Retreat Center for inexpensive food and lodging during the time volunteers in mission teams will be working. During the summer months, the retreat center can only house 60 volunteers each week, due to summer camping ministries. Online housing reservations can be completed at

Byerly told Together that United Methodist and other Affiliated Group Leaders are expected to take an engaged and active role in making sure that their group is organized, all documents are in order and make every effort to honor the generosity of our hosts at The Country Lake Christian Retreat Center.

All questions and comments should be directed by the Group Leader to the Group Volunteer Coordinator by e-mail: volunteergroups@march2recovery.or  or phone at 812-565-CAMP (2267).

Donations are welcomed for tornado recovery in southern Indiana. Remember cash is king. The disaster response and volunteers in mission teams request individuals and groups NOT to donate clothes. Donations of money or gift cards to Lowes, Home Depot and Walmart are preferred. Ways to donate and places to take donations are listed at

Churches still working relief

Even though long-term recovery volunteers are encouraged to register through March 2 Recovery, the local churches in the area devastated by the deadly tornadoes do have volunteer members that are still working closely with residents to fulfill smaller needs. Volunteers can talk to these local churches to see if they need assistance:

Henryville UMC, call the church at 812-294-1330 and ask for Carolyn Partlow, who is working with her husband Don Partlow on fulfilling local requests from residents.

  • Pekin UMC, contact the church at 812-967-4682.
  • Holton UMC, contact Gara Kreider at 812-569-6371 and
  • Daisy Hill UMC, Hank Vierling is the long-term recovery contact; call 812-267-3174.

If your group has assisted in clean up efforts, please file a report with Bonnie Albert, Conference VIM Coordinator (, so that the Indiana Conference VIM team can track the work we as a conference have accomplished as Hoosier United Methodists.

For the most recent information about tornado recovery, visit

Giving witness to the generosity of Hoosier United Methodists.

Volunteer disaster coordinator Don Partlow of Henryville UMC, works on the roof of a home owner whose house was badly damaged during the March 2 tornadoes.