Tornadoes Hit Bertie County, N.C.; Glenmary Mission Joins in Recovery Effort

Posted: 4/20/2011

As Easter approaches, Glenmary student is reminded
that 'God draws grace and goodness out of any situation'

by Jason Muhlenkamp
Second-Year Candidate Preparing for Brotherhood

Glenmary Student Jason MuhlenkampEditor's note: Jason Muhlenkamp has lived in Bertie County since June 2010 during his mission placement. Since the April 16 tornadoes, he has been traveling from Glenmary's Windsor, N.C., mission to the affected areas to help in the clean-up process.

Tornadoes ripped through Bertie County, N.C., on April 16, killing 12 people. Fifty others were taken to area hospitals. The storm left a path of destruction a half-mile wide and five to seven miles long in the northern part of this Glenmary mission county, between the towns of Askewville and Colerain, totally destroying 67 homes, substantially damaging 18 others, and doing widespread damage throughout the area.

A Bertie County official has estimated damages at over $2.5 million.

The affected area is about 10 miles north of the Glenmary mission in Windsor. Our mission team members—including Father Chet Artysiewicz, pastor; Brother Jack Henn; Brother Curt Kedley; student Clive Otieno; and me—are thankful for all the concern shown and the support already given.

The clean-up phase of the recovery has begun, but it will be a long process. We will continue collaborating with others to help in any ways we can. Bertie County residents are still recovering from a flood that struck the county last fall.

While I was assisting with the clean-up this week, I observed some scenes that reminded me of Holy Week: people washing others' feet, sharing meals, and carrying trees, and even a donkey that survived the twisters. This week leads us to Easter and the lesson that God draws grace and goodness out of any situation. 

Assistance and offers of help have come from many sources, including the Diocese of Raleigh, Catholic Charities, and Glenmary, among others. Bishop Burbidge of the Diocese of Raleigh has been in touch with Father Chet, and Catholic Charities with Brothers Jack and Curt, to assess the situation and the relief efforts needed. The bishop has also asked pastors in the diocese to consider having a special collection in their parishes when they think it's appropriate.

Catholic Charities in the Diocese of Raleigh is now accepting donations to assist families affected by the natural disasters in eastern North Carolina.

Please continue to keep the people of this area in your prayers.

This article originally appeared in the April 2011 Vocation Office E-News.