By Shannon Baker
SEVERN, Md.–At the 2018 Southern Baptist Disaster Relief (SBDR) Roundtable, held on January 22-26, Ellen Udovich, church services consultant/community engagement consultant for the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware, and Kerry Hinton, pastor of Lynnhaven Baptist Church, Pocomoke City, Md., among others, received disaster relief awards.
In addition to planning and networking at the annual roundtables, which was held this year at at The Church at Severn Run in Severn, Md., state and national disaster relief leaders present these awards to individuals who have made an impact in disaster relief ministry.
Udovich was honored with the Robert E. Dixon Award, a “Hall of Fame” award that is awarded based on a lifetime of service that helped shape the course of Southern Baptist Disaster Relief. The award is named after the first director of disaster relief for the Southern Baptist Convention.
Hinton received the Distinguished Service Award, which is like an “All-Star” award for specific performance during a disaster and is based on most recent years of service.
Doug DuBois, current state disaster relief director for Maryland/Delaware, accepted the award on behalf of Hinton, who was unable to join the celebration.
Calling Hinton “a close friend,” DuBois shared about how quickly Hinton responds to disasters, most recently in the wake of Hurricane Irma. He led a feeding unit full of church volunteers (and a stranger from Delaware who joined the team and so enjoyed the ministry she now travels over an hour to worship at Hinton’s church).
“Hinton used the deployment to actually recruit people to come to his church,” DuBois laughed. “He’s an unbelievable servant,” while also being a pastor at the same time.
DuBois also presented the award to Udovich, whom he called, “our Annie Armstrong” for her tireless efforts in missions. He pointed to several examples of thankful volunteers who credited her with training and equipping them in disaster relief.
In accepting her award, Udovich said she had been in disaster relief long enough to know all the recipients of this award. “I’m deeply, deeply honored that you would present this to me,” she said.
She shared how Maryland/Delaware’s disaster relief efforts grew from its infancy, a few months before 9/11 with no units and no experience, to the thriving ministry of volunteers who now are equipped in providing hot meals, shower trailers, child care, laundry services, and structural recovery/repair after disasters occur. She credited many other SBDR leaders for providing the important inspiration, partnership and training over the years.
“Because of you, I am slowly, slowly becoming more like Jesus,” she said, saying she now enjoys the full reward of being a disaster relief “volunteer.” Until moving into her new role this past year, Udovich was one of only two state disaster relief directors who were women.
In other awards, long-time SBDR leader Mickey Caison received the Joel Phillips Outstanding Service Award in recognition for his service in national disaster response leadership. Caison took on the role as national director for the ministry in 1994.
Sam Porter, current SBDR national director, also received the Robert E. Dixon Award. He became director upon Caison’s retirement on Aug. 31, 2017.
Several others who couldn’t be present during the ceremony received awards and are still pending notification.