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Group coordinating Saturday flood cleanup

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A religious group known for their Friday-night open mic events at the Chaves County Courthouse is coordinating cleanups of homes affected by this week’s flooding.

Beau Perez of the God Inspired Gathering, or GIG as it’s better known, said the group welcomes individuals or groups who want to help others clean up and also let those whose homes have been flooded know help is available.

The group, made up of Christians from a variety of different churches, has for about 11 years met on the courthouse lawn in summers with speakers and an open mic for people to share their experiences. “What we in the GIG want to say to our neighbors in town is you’re not alone,” Perez said.

Those in need help or who want to volunteer can call 575-208-1467. Perez said it’s likely those calling will need to leave a message, but calls will be returned.

Cleanup will start Saturday, with volunteers contacted between 11 and 11:30 a.m. with locations to work. Perez said it’s likely the work will be needed beyond this weekend.

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“We’re going to start Saturday, but having done previous disasters, I’m going to take a guess, at least a month. The water is still flowing in some areas,” he said.

Perez said he is a retired Salvation Army officer who was based in Roswell, but has worked on disasters elsewhere including hurricanes, plane crashes and highway crashes.

“When an actual disaster hits, a lot of times local folks are just kind of rocked back on their heels. It’s a little bit of a shock,” he said. “The sooner the response gets up and running, the better.”

Perez said he has talked to several large retailers in town to get cleaning supplies, but anyone wanting to donate supplies can also call the phone number to arrange the donation. GIG will focus on cleaning homes so as not to duplicate efforts of other organizations, Perez said.

“In a disaster you want to stay in your lane. Our lane is helping cleaning up the flooded houses,” he said.

But the group could help connect people with other kinds of help.

“You keep your eyes and ears open. It might not be what you do, but you listen and if you can make a connection between the person who needs help and the person who can help, then that’s a win for everybody,” he said.

City/RISD reporter Juno Ogle can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or reporter04@rdrnews.com.

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