Judges Backs Order To Move Evacuees To Campsite

What Henderson County Judge David Holstein had to say is that campsite living for evacuees is just fine. "I've been out to the camp and with situation that we have, certainly I believe that the camp is a good spot for everybody on a long-term situation," says Judges Holstein. For a camper, the conditions may be okay. But despite the heat, dirt and bugs the judge says this environment can actually be a morale booster. 
"You look at all the variables of having everybody in one facility, in one room, sleeping on the floor, with no place to go and very little to do. Moving them to the camp like we did we can isolate family units in a single facility, give them a lake to fish on, a lake to go boating on."
We found out a church outside of Athens offered to house some of these same evacuees. First United Methodist Church of Mabank has a working commercial kitchen, cots with blankets and pillows already set up, bathrooms and showers a few steps away. It's also air-conditioned 24-7, and it's only 20 minutes away.
"It's all right here, contained. We have wireless computer capabilities in the building so they have internet access for accessing the many services that are needed for the evacuees right now," says Disaster Services Coordinator for FUMC-Mabank Dr. Sherry Nash.  
Judge Holstein adds, "Mabank is out of our jurisdiction, it's a Kaufman county issue."
KLTV 7 Reporter Christine Nelson asks, "We're in a state of emergency, why jurisdiction now?" Holstein replies, "We are following protocol that's coming down from the state. And I still maintain that where we were in the Cain Center and where we are [at the camp] it's a step in the right direction on what we believe is best for the evacuees."
We contacted the Red Cross of Smith County. Officials say they would have room for all the evacuees on the Christian Youth Foundation campgrounds, if evacuees choose to be sheltered there.
"Would you take them up on that?," asks Nelson. "As long as it goes through the proper channels. Yeah," says Holstein. Holstein says until then they are working to improve the lighting at the camp and concerns about access to A/C. Unless there's a change, they are preparations to house the evacuees as long as they need.
We also talked with First Baptist Church in Athens. They also have offered to buy lighting and even A/C units for evacuees at the campsite if it made the conditions there more comfortable.

Christine Nelson reporting. cnelson@kltv.com