Bill Howell Leaves Lasting Impact

September 20, 2022
 
  • Bill Howell set to leave Louisiana, September 30th
  • Rev. Bob Deich will continue in his role as Conference Disaster Response Coordinator
  • Howard Hines, currently the Case Manager Supervisor for Disaster Recovery in Southwest Louisiana, will assume the position of Long-term Disaster Recovery Director on October 1 

Ask Bill Howell about the last year in Louisiana, and he'll quickly say, "it's a year I will never forget!"

Just days after Hurricane Ida slammed ashore in southeast Louisiana, Howell arrived in Louisiana as the Director of Missional Outreach and Engagement.

From day one, he has led an intense recovery process from one corner of the state to the next. Now, Howell is on to his next challenge, accepting a job at a northwest Illinois renewable energy company where he will work toward reducing America's demand for foreign oil and lowering energy costs.
 
"The work will continue"
"Bill Howell arrived at the Louisiana Conference at the perfect time," says Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey. "He has been a gift from God as he has helped accelerate the pace of response in southwest Louisiana while navigating Hurricane Ida and other storms along the way."

Howell's brief tenure in Louisiana will be remembered for a unique partnership that will continue in the months ahead. 

Over the past several months, the Louisiana Conference, under Howell's leadership, has worked with members of a newly formed coalition with Mennonite Disaster Service, the umbrella organization for Amish volunteers, and the non-denominational Fuller Center Disaster ReBuilders. 

The Amish workforce plans to return to Lake Charles this November, and the coalition has identified sixteen projects in the area, with work to begin November 1. 

"Our case managers have done an excellent job preparing for the Amish return and are committed to help those in need," Howell says. "The Coalition has worked tirelessly over the past several months to develop this model and the work will continue. In fact, the Mennonites have identified southeast Louisiana as a potential area of need and could be working with the Ida Response Phase very soon."

As much as Howell will miss the recovery work that began under his leadership, he says he will miss the Louisiana spirit most of all. 

"Louisianians never give up and always keep on keepin' on. I can't say enough about the businesses and churches we've worked with this past year. They have been a continual stream of support for these ongoing efforts. Many people have gone out of their way to be creative in serving the volunteers and showing their appreciation, from outstanding south Louisiana cuisine to much-needed supplies to spiritual encouragement. It all made the volunteers feel they have experienced a worthwhile mission.”

"Bill's attention to detail and his ability to generate fruitful partnerships has allowed us to stretch and leverage our resources," Bishop Harvey said. "We send him off to his next adventure with love and grace and pray God's richest blessings upon his life and work."

Rev. Bob Deich will continue in his role as Conference Disaster Response Coordinator, working with UMCOR and other partners in the areas of disaster preparedness, early response, VIM, and conference relations.   

Howard Hines, currently the Case Manager Supervisor for our Disaster Recovery in Southwest Louisiana, will assume the position of Long-term Disaster Recovery Director on October 1. 

Hines will oversee all ongoing long-term recovery efforts, supervising staff, working with coalition partners to continue the important recovery work in Lake Charles and the surrounding communities, and strategically expanding Conference work to include Southeast Louisiana and the ongoing Hurricane Ida recovery efforts.    

We are grateful for Bob and Howard, their dedication and commitment to this work, and their willingness to serve in these important positions at this crucial time. 


 

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