By Sharon Mager
ELLICOTT CITY, Md.—On May 27 residents of Ellicott City, recovering from the devastating flood of just two years ago, once again found themselves deluged after a huge storm dumped almost 10 inches of water over a two-hour period. The resulting rush of flood waters resulted in the death of one rescuer and at least 30 water rescues.
Ken Cavey, senior pastor of Bethel Baptist Church, Ellicott City, and a volunteer chaplain for the Howard County Police Department, arrived downtown as the waters began to recede, along with Governor Larry Hogan, Maryland Senator Gail Bates, and Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman.
“I checked on the officers down there and walked through the city, praying,” he said. Having gotten to know some of the people affected by the 2016 storm, Cavey’s heart was broken.
He described the scene of cars buried in mud, broken windows with debris lodged in them, the complete front of a building with a fitness center blown out and destroyed, and a shocked bridal party positioned up the hill by the Court House. Rescue personnel were checking buildings for people that may have been trapped.
“I saw the devastation and knew they had a long road ahead of them. Some would not be able to come back emotionally or physically. It was more than they could handle,” Cavey said.
He said one man had just arrived in Ellicott City prior to the 2016 flood and opened his business just three weeks prior to the current flood. He sold robes and slippers and other spa-type items for men and women.
“He had a player piano in the window, and he had ordered wallpaper from London, and it was all destroyed,” Cavey said.
Cavey shared what he found in the city with his church and members got to work quickly, sending teams of 10 to 15 volunteers out every other weekend as needed by Southern Baptist Disaster Relief (DR) to help gut and clean out basements, do mud-outs, and whatever else was needed.
“Some basements still had seven to eight inches of sewer water and everything was destroyed,” Cavey said.
The church continues to send teams as needed. They’re also preparing to house a DR team from Virginia from June 29 to July 8.
Cavey has continued to check on folks and he meets with police officers every week. They are tired.
“They’ve been working extra shifts managing the perimeters,” he said. Fortunately, roads are slowly being reopened and the extra burdens are easing a bit.
The town has a long way to go, and everyone needs prayer, including the people in and around Ellicott City, and the disaster relief recovery workers, who not only physically give of their talents to provide relief, but intentionally seek ways to share Christ.