On Wednesday, September 16, 2020, at the corner of Highway 59 and Keller Road in Foley, Ala., a sign read: “South Baldwin Christian Church 1/2 mile W.”
When Hurricane Sally made landfall that day, Foley – and the sign – stood directly in the path.
Sally’s winds ripped the sign from the ground and launched it across the road. Half a mile west on Keller Road, South Baldwin Christian Church received roof damage, then suffered water damage to the sanctuary from flash flooding.
Following the hurricane, worship services were held on the soggy front lawn, the unusable building behind them as testimony to the tragedy.
It was a tough blow, but the church had insured the property. The worst seemed over.
But after considering their large deductible and an insurance assessment that failed to notice much of the damage, they were offered a payout of about $1,000 – a pittance compared to their losses.
Pastor Dan Burton called Disciples Church Extension Fund (DCEF) for help.
“We soon realized we were not equipped to communicate in the claim process effectively,” said church leader Joan Teeter.
Building and Capital Services Advisor Jim Michel started negotiations with the insurance provider for an accurate assessment of the damage, as part of the Building Disaster Response Service DCEF offers at no cost to a congregation.
In the end, the claim increased to around $40,000, plus an extra $42,000 for recoverable depreciation.
“There is no way we could have navigated this insurance terrain without Jim’s expertise,” the grateful Joan Teeter added.
As the church put the final touches on repairs like reupholstering pews, Jim continued to check in periodically.
Meanwhile, no word on the street sign at Keller Road…
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