Members of the Oklahoma City Ambassadors baseball team who stopped by the Conway Transportation department to help fill sandbags for local residents said they were glad to lend a helping hand.
The team traveled to Conway from Oklahoma to compete in a weekend tournament at Hendrix College and the University of Central Arkansas. The tournament began Thursday evening and was scheduled to continue through Sunday.
Before prepping for the tournament, OKC Ambassadors made a pit stop at the Conway Transportation Department and started filling sandbags to help with flood relief efforts.
County Road Foreman Mark Ledbetter said the act of kindness "was just amazing."
But for those on the team, "it was honestly a pleasure" to help out.
OKC Ambassadors Assistant Baseball Coach Luck Sandoval said it was a rewarding feeling to help out and fill sandbags among the many other volunteers who helped showcase strong community support.
"It was great to get out there and help out a community that's in need," he told the Log Cabin Democrat. "We did it because we always want to help when we can and this was a major opportunity to do that. Coming together and seeing the community out there helping really shows the type of city Conway is."
Pitcher Carsten Kates said OKC Ambassadors began filling sandbags Thursday because they saw a community in need and they were each able to step in.
"We were out there because out ream saw a way that we could help out the community," he said. "It was really awesome being able to fill a need to help protect the city from the flooding. Everyone there was working towards a common goal and we had a great time doing it with the people of Conway."
The OKC Ambassadors is a discipleship baseball team for college-level high school juniors and seniors. The team plays across the county for eight weeks during the summer.
According to the OKC Ambassadors' website, the team "is so much more than a team that prays together before a game."
"During the eight weeks of the summer our players will receive intensive Bible study training to help them learn spiritual disciplines in their lives as they prepare to go face the challenges that college life and the world are going to throw at them," the website reads. "As much as we challenge them on the baseball field, we also challenge them spiritually throughout the summer. We give them plenty of opportunities to share their faith with others and to use the game of baseball as [a] tool that God has given them to build a bridge to someone's heart."
Volunteers began filling sandbags on May 22 in preparation of the imminent flood. Since then, more than 90,000 bags have been filled across the county thanks to residents as well as city and county employees stepping up to help out.
Sandbag volunteering opportunities are available at:
Beaverfork Fire Department, located at 2 Beaverfork Road.
The Conway Transportation Department, located at 100 E. Robins St.
Highway 286 East Fire Station, located at 268 Highway 286 East.
There are also two self-filling stations set up for residents in need to walk up and fill whatever amount of sandbags they need at:
Mayflower City Hall, located at 2 Ashmore Drive.
The lot across from Red Robin, located at 1292 E. Dave Ward Drive.
More than 70,000 of the sandbags that already have been filled in the county were filled at the Beaverfork Fire Department.
Volunteer firefighters at the department as well as other organizers and volunteers offer sandbag delivery to those who cannot make it to the station to pick up bags to protect their homes.
“If you need them, we can bring them to you anywhere out in the county,” BFD volunteer Jennifer Hutchinson told the Log Cabin.
Those who need sandbags delivered to their residence are asked to call BFD volunteers at 501-514-2302.
Conway spokesman Bobby M. Kelly III said he as well as other city and county officials are grateful for the community's support in helping to fill sandbags for those in need during the historic 2019 Arkansas River Flood.
"We're so proud to see our community come together like this," he said. "People are working so hard for their neighbors. After the flooding threat passes, I pray everyone looks back on this week and remembers all the good people who came together for the common good [did]."