Alumnus calls on lessons learned at TROY to assist in disaster communication efforts
As tornadoes were bearing down on the state of Alabama in April, TROY alumnus Chris Mills and his co-workers were making plans for relief and recovery efforts.
Mills, a 2007 broadcast journalism and public relations graduate, is a state missionary serving in communications services with the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions.
Mills manages multiple websites, manages social media efforts and assists with photography, writing and other communication-related needs.
On April 27, Mills’ focus changed from his normal routine to providing regular updates on disaster relief and recovery efforts.
“The focus of my job shifted to being solely focused on communicating what Alabama Baptists and Southern Baptists were doing in wake of the storms,” Mills said. “It seems I was instantly getting word of Alabama Baptist volunteers making their way to devastated places across the state. It was really through those first several days that I saw crisis communications first hand.”
Mills said the Board of Missions has regular disaster preparedness meetings, which helped the agency make an almost immediate response.
“My job was to get the word out as to what we knew had happened in the disaster areas,” Mills said of April 27. “We immediately went into disaster relief mode, cancelling all statewide events for several days and refocusing all of our efforts on providing relief. Alabama Baptist disaster relief units, as well as teams from the greater Southern Baptist family, were on the ground that night in some of the affected areas meeting immediate needs such as supplying food, shower/laundry facilities, childcare and chain saw and chaplain teams. Long-term efforts will include helping with rebuilding and providing counseling and encouragement.”
Mills said he drew on skills learned at TROY to help him through this experience.
“I am blessed to have gained the knowledge and skills I did at TROY. They helped prepare me for what I am doing today.”