Centennial Update: OA ReliefCorps helps South Carolina recover from flooding

By Kyle Hoffmann

After Hurricane Joaquin left many parts of South Carolina under immense flooding, the OA ReliefCorps sprang into action in what became known as Operation Carolina Relief. SR-5 Section Chief and youth coordinator of the OA ReliefCorps, Reed Powell, was in communication with the leadership of lodges throughout SR-5, which enabled him to see the pictures taken first hand of the devastation in the hometowns. Powell, keeping with the Order’s purpose, noted that, “We are taking the lead on this because we are an organization of service.”

The efforts in South Carolina have just begun but the OA ReliefCorps itself, however, has already served in the wake of disaster before. The OA ReliefCorps began after a series of tornadoes wreaked havoc across Alabama in 2011. In 2013, the OA ReliefCorps was reawakened by then-SR-8 Section Chief Wesley Seaman to serve after tornadoes struck Moore, OK. Powell, who had lived in Oklahoma prior to the storms, was able to see the work that the OA ReliefCorps had been doing. Powell worked with a group of key leadership, including 2015 Southern Region Chief Alex Leach, to make Operation Carolina Relief a reality.

There are many ways you can assist with Operation Carolina Relief. Currently, a $10 patch is available for purchase with all proceeds going to the American Red Cross to bring aid to those in need. Another major component of the ReliefCorps program is a lodge service project. The sole requirement for the project is that the service rendered must benefit the community and not the BSA or any council. All lodge members who contribute five or more hours of service can receive a special gold mylar bordered patch. Powell stresses that not only Arrowmen, but anyone can receive the patches in recognition of their service. For more information on how you can join the OA ReliefCorps effort:

All of the Arrowmen involved in Operation Carolina Relief are invaluable to the greater effort of making life easy again for disaster victims in the South, regardless of how close one lives to SR-5. Reed Powell points out, “you’re gonna see your impact and it’s gonna be big.”

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