August 1969 brought one of Virginia’s strongest severe storms on record as the remnants of Hurricane Camille produced deadly flooding and devastating mudslides. The response of Virginia Baptists to this storm was our earliest experience in disaster response.
John Gordon led search and rescue efforts in Nelson County after Camille as more than 100 bodies were recovered from the flood ravaged area. As pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Lovingston, he had a unique seat to watch Virginia Baptists provide feeding, distribute relief supplies, and
Gordon pointed to the response to Camille as the motivation for Virginia Baptists to begin developing planning around disaster response. Another early leader in the movement, Lloyd Jackson, would later say Gordon’s efforts “proved invaluable in the planning and development of organized disaster relief efforts eventually established by Virginia Baptists.”
In 50 years, we have responded to 72 disasters including 9/11, Hurricanes Hugo, Katrina, and Harvey, along with forest fires, earthquakes, and disasters in more than 15 states and in countries around the world.
As we look to the next 50 years, the Disaster Legacy Fund will ensure the resources are available to support and deploy volunteers when disaster strikes.
Building on the legacy of John, Lloyd, and countless other leaders throughout our history, we are ready to embark on the journey ahead.
Nelson County response to Camille
Feeding Unit responds for the first time to Hurricane Andrew in Leisure City, FL
Hurricane Floyd floods Franklin, VA
Served 56,000 meals in Brooklyn after 9/11
Feeding and chain saw set up in 7 locations around eastern, central VA and DC after Hurricane Isabel
Tsunami in India prompts BGAV to raise $1 million in relief funds
All hands on deck at 2 sites in Mississippi and Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina
Long-term partnership in Port Sulphur after Katrina
Earthquake in Haiti response leads to founding of Source of Light orphanage
8 tornadoes struck 12 Virginia counties, Appomattox and Essex cleanup and rebuild follows
First forest fire response in Gatlinburg
Three hurricanes (Harvey, Irma, Maria) involve BGAV through summer 2018
Hurricanes Florence and Michael lead annual impact to cross $1 million