More than two dozen Texans from the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief group spent most of August volunteering in Lake County, helping victims from July's floods clean out their basements and homes.
Now, Lake County volunteers plan to return the favor.
The charity's local branch, the Illinois Baptist Disaster Relief, is currently mobilizing a team to head to Texas to help people impacted by the historic flooding from Hurricane Harvey, said the group's supervisor, Chaplain Ric Worshill, with the Crossroads Community Church in Port Barrington.
Just as the Texans did in Lake County, the trained volunteers will carry debris and mud out of flooded basements, cut out ruined drywall and insulation, and remediate mold, sometimes working 10- to 12-hour days and sleeping on cots or air mattresses.
"It's hard work, but the work isn't the important part. The important part is the love that we bring to people in their time of need," Worshill said. "That's what it's all about."
Every week this month, the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief's affiliated group, Texas Baptist Men, sent six to 10 volunteers to Lake County to help flood victims with cleanup. The volunteers' hometowns weren't available Monday, but charity leaders believe a few were from the hard-hit areas of southeast Texas.
The last of the Texas volunteers returned home Aug. 20. The hurricane hit Texas Aug. 25.
Worshill marveled over how local community and church groups stepped up to help the Texas volunteers, who didn't have a place to stay. They ended up sleeping at the Wildwood Presbyterian Church in Grayslake, while different groups donated food, cooked meals and even helped arrange a shower and laundry trailer.
The Southern Baptist Disaster Relief group is made up of 50,000 trained volunteers nationwide, including 1,700 with Illinois Baptist Disaster Relief, Worshill said.
Volunteers still have three more Lake County cleanup projects to finish before they go to Houston, but the group has started lining people up who want to make the trek and serve people in crisis.
"It saves (the flood victims) a lot of money, and then the insurance company is more likely to help them put it back together," Worshill said.