• Samantha Hyde

Reaching Survivors: How UTVs Aid Tornado Response in Indiana

Sullivan, IN - The Salvation Army of Sullivan, IN continues to serve workers and survivors in the hardest hit portions of the community on the Silver Street Corridor. Late Monday a request was received by The Salvation Army to find an alternative way to get meals to those on this corridor. In response, the Emergency Disaster Services (EDS) team members have begun to utilize a UTV to better reach workers and survivors with meals. Utility Terrain Vehicles (UTVs) give The Salvation Army access to areas blocked by debris to reach residents and road crews in need of hot meals, hydration, and snacks. 

By utilizing both a mobile kitchen (canteen) as a base camp on the Silver Street Corridor and a smaller UTV, The Salvation Army EDS team members have been able to reach more people with meals, including those in parts of the county they could not reach over the weekend with the mobile kitchen. 

The Salvation Army of Sullivan has served 1,200 meals to workers and survivors since early Saturday morning. Meals continue to be prepared by volunteers at First Christian Church and resources continue to be staged at that location.  

"We now can go to people directly, which is far better than waiting for them to come to us," shared Susan, a disaster worker with The Salvation Army. "So many of people are working so hard to cut up trees, clean out houses, and just helping, it is hard to get them to stop and take a break. When I show up and offer food, water, or snacks it almost forces people to stop and you can see that they are grateful for the break." 

While receiving meals from The Salvation Army UTV, one community member shared his gratitude, saying, “We haven’t had anything to eat since breakfast yesterday. We simply have been working nonstop, and by the time we thought about eating everything was closed. You have no idea how much we needed and appreciate this food. Thank you for all you are doing."