The South Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church has named Ward Smith as its new flood recovery director.
Smith takes the reins from the Rev. Gregg Varner, UMCSC disaster response coordinator, who had been serving as interim recovery director since the October floods. As flood recovery director, Smith will train and assist all of the disaster recovery staff as they coordinate volunteers, assess and advocate for clients with case management needs, purchase materials and supervise the reconstruction on damaged homes with volunteer teams.
“We are in good hands,” Varner said of Smith’s selection.
Smith most recently was the conference’s Midlands region construction supervisor for the disaster recovery effort. The UMCSC is a key player in statewide post-flood disaster relief. United Methodist Volunteers in Mission Teams are working across the Midlands, Lowcountry and upper coastal area, and most of the work is indoors replacing Sheetrock, carpet, flooring and insulation.
“This is an exciting time to move into the role of disaster recovery director as we transition into more repair and rebuild with additional staff and volunteer teams,” Ward said. “I’m thankful for the opportunity to minister with churches and individuals as we host volunteer teams, assess the repairs to be done on a home and the materials needed, help repair damaged homes and strive together to do all we can to assist our neighbors return to their homes.”
The Rev. Kathy James, director of Connectional Ministries for the UMCSC, said, “Ward is a South Carolina native who has spent many years working with disaster response in other parts of the country and around the world. We are blessed that he was available and willing to serve in this capacity. I have the utmost confidence in his capacity to steer our long-term recovery effort.”
The UMCSC is seeking churches willing to host work teams for a week. Ward said interested churches should contact Chelsey Faircloth at firstname.lastname@example.org or 803-786-9486, ext. 257.