‘An incredible workforce’: LDS Church members volunteer to clean up hurricane damage in south Louisiana

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SULPHUR, LA (ABC4 News) –  While many of us spent the long holiday weekend relaxing, hundreds of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were hard at work in this Louisiana town where the cleanup following Hurricane Laura continues and could go on for several more months.

Ten days after the winds roared…the buzz of chainsaws echoed in south Louisiana.

“When I pulled into the driveway, I started crying,” Sulphur resident Kelli Cowan said. “There was just trees everywhere”

Video provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints shows some of the hundreds of volunteers who drove two hours to clean up in communities near Lake Charles where many residents are still without power and living in damaged homes.

“Thank you, we love you and appreciate you being part of an incredible workforce,” Art Rascon, an Area Seventy told the assembled volunteers.

“We have 12 stakes coming,” Rascon explained. “So we have approximately 1,500 men and women, and teenagers as well.”

“It is so touching because they’re not only driving, many of them are bringing their own supplies,” Daniel Harris, an LDS Stake President from Orange, Texas said. “Many of them are coming early, and even when we say ‘You can stand down this weekend,’ they say ‘No, we are coming back, there are so many people to help’.'”

This was the second straight weekend that the volunteers showed up with donated supplies and helping hands and their efforts were very appreciated, especially by a widow named Gayle Carlson.  

“I’m a senior citizen, and I had no help. All my neighbors had people coming over to help them, and here I am with nobody,” Mrs. Carlson said through tears. “And when you people came, I don’t know, I almost fell to the floor and thanked God for that.”

The damage from Hurricane Laura is estimated at between $8 billion and $12 billion and the hurricane killed 25 people in Louisiana plus five others in Texas and several more in Haiti and the Dominican Republic before it reached the U.S.

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