Clovis pastor traveling to help flood victims

Courtesy photo Dick Ross, associate pastor at Central Baptist Church in Clovis, is in Minot, N.D., helping with flood recovery as part of New Mexico Baptist Disaster Relief.

Kevin Wilson

With 100-degree highs and drizzles treated like holidays in eastern New Mexico, it’s no surprise Dick Ross got his share of comments when he told people he was going to help North Dakota families deal with flood conditions.

“Everybody says, ‘Bring me back a bucket,’” Ross said with a laugh. “So I think I’m going to bring home the dirtiest bucket I can.”

Ross, associate pastor at Central Baptist Church in Clovis, made the 1,150-mile trip from Clovis to Minot, N.D., where residents are still recovering from a historic flood.

The Souris River broke a more than 130-year-old record June 24 when it measured 1,558 feet above sea level at the city’s Broadway Bridge. The flood has forced thousands of residents out of town and done untold millions in property damage.

Ross is also associate director for New Mexico Baptist Disaster Relief. The organization that has been active for nearly a decade, coordinator Ira Shelton said, with the mission to help people in their time of need in the name of Jesus.

Any Christian is welcome to join the relief team, made up of about 250 members in the state, but leadership positions are reserved for those with Baptist churches.

There are units for feeding displaced residents, water purification, communication centers and others. Ross is part of a team that does “mud out” work.

“For a house that’s been flooded, we go in and clean the house off,” Ross said. “We take the sheet rock out. We come back and power wash it, and we spray it with something called Shockwave that kills mold.

“Sometimes on a house, you could spend two or three or four days working on it.”

Shelton said the house Ross was working on was a challenge. The basement was filled with mud, and that was below the 2 feet of water. He said Monday was the crew’s third day of work on the house, and took some pride in the fact that other disaster relief organizations turned down that house.

“They are one of the first ones called nationwide,” Shelton said. “Last year, when there was flooding in New England, we flew them up there.

“We’ve got a great reputation. We’re not the biggest — there are about 42 (similar organizations) around the country. But we’ve got a great reputation for getting the job done.”

Ross said a normal deployment is about two weeks.