Today's Paper Obits Weather Community Calendar
story.lead_photo.caption Volunteers: Heather Johnson, from right, Zach Bledsoe and Colton Cain are volunteering to go to Texas and help victims of Hurricane Harvey.

With a desire to “make a difference,” a group of about 20 young men and women from El Dorado are leaving town today, en route to Magnolia, Texas, “to do what we can to help and minister to people,” said Colton Cain, organizer of the pilgrimage to help victims of former Hurricane Harvey.

Cain, Zach Bledsoe and Heather Johnson met Thursday to discuss plans for the El Dorado Volunteer Group and said they are meeting at 5 p.m. today at Marrable Hill Chapel, 110 Chapel Ave., to begin the caravan to Texas.

The group plans to help people in south Texas as they begin to clean up after Harvey destroyed properties along the Gulf Coast, followed by torrential rains – in excess of 50 inches in some areas.

They will tear up and remove old carpet that has been saturated with a mixture of rainfall, sludge and perhaps toxic substances released by rising waters, and gut houses that have been ruined by hurricane winds and catastrophic flooding.

Cain and the local volunteers will also be helping organize groups to assist in providing transportation for workers and they will determine ways to haul supplies to areas in need.

Marrable Hill Chapel and the Sno Shack, located on Mount Holly Road near Cross Life Church, will be accepting and storing supplies for Cain’s group of volunteers to take to south Texas. Supplies and materials, along with monetary donations, will all be appreciated, he said.

“We have a van, so we have transportation” for workers, “but some people may need gas money” and Cain said the volunteer group will also help meet those needs. Bruce Goff, a member of Marrable Hill Chapel, will lead the caravan and drive one of the church’s vans with volunteers, materials and supplies for the people of south Texas.

Members of the young volunteer group are friends with Pastor Homer Allison, who lives in Magnolia, Texas, and after Allison had posted

photos of the devastation and relief efforts, local volunteers responded to Allison’s call for help and began coordinating efforts to take a crew to Texas. Allison is pastor of Servanthood Fellowship and president of Battle Cry Ministries in Magnolia.

“We want to do for others through Christ. We have a love for others and we are representatives of Christ,” Cain said.

“We will be housed and fed while we are there,” Cain said, explaining that because of his work responsibilities, he will only stay in south Texas for a day and a half, but other members of the team will stay as long as they can. Others who would like to participate in the volunteer efforts and accompany the group to Texas can call Cain at 870-314-0178 or Bledsoe at 870-310-0471.

While in Texas, local volunteers will be working with the Cajun Navy – a volunteer group with bass boats, airboats and other small recreational vessels that set off in a caravan from Baton Rouge, Louisiana on Monday, bound for flood-devastated Houston, and the Cajun Army.

The Cajun Navy is a grassroots citizens’ organization that came together in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 in south Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. In the devastation and deep water left by Hurricane Katrina, Louisianans took to their boats to help each other and the Cajun Navy was born. After Katrina, the Cajun Navy was credited with saving some 10,000 people from floodwaters.

In addition to other local efforts to help storm victims, Noalmark Broadcasting’s El Dorado radio stations and First Financial Bank have joined hands with the United Way of Union County to collect money for those affected by Harvey. A Hurricane Harvey Relief fund account has been set up at First Financial Bank.

All proceeds will go to the United Way of Houston and Greater Southwest Louisiana, said Caleb Burger with Noalmark. Local and area residents are asked to stop by any First Financial Bank location or the Noalmark North West Avenue location to make a monetary donation.

From 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Thursday, Noalmark will have a live remote in the parking lot of Noalmark Broadcasting Corp., 2525 N. West Ave., El Dorado to continue fundraising efforts.

Janice McIntyre can be reached at 870-862-6611 or

Want to help?

Here’s some options for dropping off donations:

• Marrable Hill Chapel at 110 Chapel Ave.

• Sno Shack, on Mount Holly Road near Cross Life Church

• All About Flowers at 106 E. Elm from 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m. today

And here’s a short sample of some of the needed supplies:

— Cleaning supplies

— Bleach

— Face masks

— Gloves

— Contractor trash bags

— Diapers

— Baby wipes

— Baby Formula

— Toiletries

— Pet food

— Blankets

— Bedding

— Tarps

— Tape

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