INSPIRITUS Gains Nationally Recognized Disaster Response Expert Sherry Buresh, Just In Time For Devastating Hurricane Season.

SHERRY BURESH, INSPIRITUS’ NEW DIRECTOR OF DISASTER RESPONSE

SHERRY BURESH, INSPIRITUS’ NEW DIRECTOR OF DISASTER RESPONSE

Currently, Inspiritus is responding to Hurricane Dorian in the state of North Carolina. We have increased our team and capacity and have hired Sherry Buresh as our Director of Disaster Response. 

We are thrilled to welcome Sherry Buresh to our team to lead this effort. Sherry brings her extensive experience in leading countless disaster responses, including:

  • Hurricane Katrina

  • Hurricane Harvey

  • Hurricane Irma

  • Hurricane Maria

  • Pilger, Nebraska Tornadoes

  • Nashville, Tennessee Floods

  • Gatlinburg, Tennessee Fires

  • Nepal Earthquake

Sherry's career in disaster relief began following Hurricane Katrina, when she deployed a team of 60 volunteers to a base called Camp Victor at Christus Victor Lutheran Church,Ocean Springs, MS, where she worked alongside the Rev. Dr. P. Morgan Gordy, Pastor of Christ Lutheran Church in Nashville, TN.

Sherry was on the job with Inspiritus for three days when we first got wind of Hurricane Dorian. She rapidly put together a plan with little to no resources, and set us in motion to prepare to respond. Our long-term recovery staff were already deployed along the Georgia coast and in South Georgia, helping homeowners who have yet to recover from Hurricane Irma and Michael. Sherry was especially concerned about how Hurricane Dorian might impact those vulnerable homes.

“No two disasters are alike. Everything can change in a split second, and you have to tap into the best resources you have at any given moment,” says Sherry.

With her leading the way, Inspiritus quickly established a Dorian Response lead volunteer team, ready to deploy and setup a volunteer base along the Georgia coast, if needed. As Dorian made its slow journey along the southeastern US coastline, Sherry had staff calling on our clients all along the coast, preparing them for the storm and checking on them the morning after. We were relieved to learn our clients were safe from additional damages.

However, our attention quickly shifted to the North Carolina coast, where Ocracoke Island suffered 6-8 foot storm surges and hundreds of homes in the region were damaged. Many families impacted by Dorian in North Carolina are facing a devastating loss of hope right now, especially those who have yet to recover from last year's Hurricane Florence.

“It’s the combination of partners which matters. The community effort of all showing up...no one can take care of a disaster alone. It takes a village, as they say. I follow my gut instincts and thankfully, have built a good network and loving partnerships all over the world,” says Sherry.

Right now, Sherry and her team are operating a base camp along the North Carolina coast, and have a thick binder full of homes in need. Most of these homeowners are low-to-no income women or men with disabilities, many are senior citizens who are alone, and all are suffering exposure to unhealthy living situations due to mold and water damage that grows worse each week.

When Sherry is not deployed or training partner groups, you will find her enthusiastically sharing her “inspirational stories of lives helped and transformed during crisis.” She and her husband, also an emergency responder, have 4 children and 4 grandchildren.
Inspiritus is grateful to have Sherry guiding our teams through our Dorian Response efforts, especially with more inclement weather, and hurricanes on the horizon.

Interesting read: Sherry was featured in Popular Mechanics by a journalist who volunteered with her after Hurricane Irma and Maria disaster response in the Virgin Islands. Warning: This article may inspire you to volunteer with Sherry in our next Inspiritus disaster response. Click here to read.

Inspiritus needs donations to help us respond to this latest disaster. Donate here and select disaster response to direct your funds specifically to our disaster.

If you’d like to volunteer with Inspiritus and our response team-fill out our short application here

Give Hope

Hurricane Dorian is being reported as one of the strongest Atlantic hurricanes ever observed. It’s a catastrophic storm and expected to hit our coastal communities this week. Life-threatening storm surges could devastate homes still in desperate need of help. Homes like the one owned by Ethel, a disabled elderly woman living in Brunswick, GA. Inspiritus met Ethel last year, when our long-term disaster recovery teams were helping those in the area with home repairs. Ethel is an elderly, domestic violence survivor who was thrilled to move into her own home back in 2017.

“It was like God gave me a gift I was praying for...it was heaven,” says Ethel.

Unfortunately, Hurricane Irma descended upon her home and destroyed her roof. As a result, she was forced to live outside on to her porch. “I’ve been without water for almost a year. I was drinking off the roof with buckets on the side to take a bath and wash my dishes...” My lights got cut off too, and I knew I couldn’t afford to pay it, so I took that barrel there and that wood and chopped it up, and I cooked my food. I did it in order to survive.” says Ethel

Following Hurricane Irma, Ethel’s home quickly became infected with mold and mildew. Poor living-conditions made her sick with pneumonia, as well as, another mold-related lung infection.

“I’m not able to work, I can’t even go to the doctor. I got really sick, between the mildew in this house and the drinking the water I got...I had another bucket, a tin tub, to get water to drink, I know that made me sick, too, but I had to live. That was my life. I’m living the best way I can. God help me.” says Ethel.

Inspiritus repaired Ethel’s roof, but there’s still so much more to be done to make her home liveable. "If it wasn’t for Inspiritus, I would still be in this situation. ” says Ethel.

Ethel’s home may not be able to withstand more damage from another hurricane. Brunswick is located on a harbor of the Atlantic Ocean, approximately 40 mi (60 km) north of Florida and 80 mi (130 km) south of South Carolina. This makes it right in Hurricane Dorian’s projected path. As of Labor Day, mandatory evacuations were put into effect for Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas.


Inspiritus needs donations to help us respond to this latest disaster. Donate here to Inspiritus’ disaster recovery work today to provide support and give hope to these vulnerable communities desperately in need of our help. Select disaster response to direct your funds specifically to our disaster.

Our prayers are with Ethel and everyone in the path of Hurricane Dorian.

Disaster Relief: Long-Term Recovery from April Storms Still Underway

In recognition of September as National Preparedness Month, Lutheran Services of Georgia reflects on the communities affected by April’s severe storm outbreak and the work we perform to serve families and communities affected by disasters. With an active history of assisting in long-term disaster recovery, LSG works with congregations and Lutheran Disaster Response to serve the families and communities affected by disasters to reconstruct their lives and communities.

As disasters occur, federal, state, local governments, and private organizations assist communities with immediate disaster relief and with the restoration of basic services. Unfortunately, survivors, victims, and donors erroneously believe that federal and state grants provide enough financial assistance to help families and communities return to normalcy after a disaster.

This is why LSG’s long-term recovery outlook is very important to the families and the communities that we serve. Most recently, our commitment to the long-term recovery is evident two years after the 2009 floods in theSoutheastern United States. Thanks to a successful joint venture with Lutheran Disaster Response and Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, LSG continues to assist families and communities who are still coping with the reconstruction and repairs of their homes and communities. Contributions to the flood relief efforts reach above $40,000 and facilitated the successful delivery of financial assistance and volunteer coordination. As we enter the long-term recovery phase of April’s severe storm outbreak, LSG will continue to work in partnership with Lutheran Disaster Response, Long Term Recovery groups, Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster (GVOAD), congregations, and families to coordinate recover efforts.

With your financial and volunteer support, Lutheran Services will be active in the long term recovery of the communities affected by April’s severe storm outbreak and any other future incidents. We encourage you to support our efforts as we serve our mission.

For more information on how you can assist our efforts, contact disasterassistance@lsga.org or call 404.875.0201.

To learn how to your congregation can be better prepared for disasters please download Preparing for Disaster: A Guide for Lutheran Congregations at http://www.ldr.org/prepare/PrepDisaster.pdf