Big Country VOAD

About Big Country VOAD

Big Country VOAD, Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster, is a group of nonprofit organizations that mitigate and alleviate the impact of disasters, provides a forum promoting cooperation, communication, coordination, and collaboration; and fosters more effective delivery of services to communities affected by disaster.

Big County VOAD was chartered in 2003 and now has over 30 partners.  One of the goals of Big County VOAD is to create efficiencies in volunteer management and donations of supplies and equipment.

VOAD Board Members

Executive Committee

  • John Bittrick, Chair – United Way of Abilene Board Member
  • Tony Lassetter, Vice-Chair Planning – AISD Director of Safety & Security
  • Michelle Parrish, Vice-Chair Membership – Community Foundation of Abilene
  • Lauren Ramelot, Vice-Chair Program – United Rescue Alliance
  • Rebecca Aldape, Secretary – 211 Texas-A Call for Help
  • Greg Wilson, Treasurer – United Way of Abilene
  • Jake Mills, At-Large – Beltway Baptist
  • Christal Faries, At-Large – United Supermarket


If you are interested in serving as a disaster volunteer, please click here to complete the registration form. 

For questions or more information about volunteer registration, email


The Mesquite Heat Fire began on May 17 and continued for 12 days, causing damage to 30 homes, farms, and ranches in South Taylor County, Texas. The Big Country Fire Relief Fund was established by the Community Foundation of Abilene to assist volunteer fire departments and nonprofits serving those affected by the Mesquite Heat fire.

On Wednesday, June 22, there will be an informational forum for families affected by the Mesquite Heat Fires.

If you or someone you know has been affected, this is a great place to get information about available resources!

Local organizations are active in the recovery process providing immediate relief in the form of gift cards for food and other essential needs and money for rental assistance and temporary lodging. Long-term recovery will be led by United Rescue Alliance (URA), a disaster relief organization who assists communities through the recovery process. The URA Team has been serving families in international disaster relief since 2013 through the areas of preparedness, response, and long-term transformation and recovery. To learn more about how United Rescue Alliance serves alongside communities, please visit their website

URA, located at Camp Barkeley off of Braune Road, was also one of the entities affected by the Mesquite Heat Fire. URA is working diligently to ensure that each request is reviewed to determine the best course of action to assist the family in their recovery process. In some cases, that may mean financial assistance or referrals to other agencies who have available resources.

If you wish to contact a member of the URA team, please email or call 325-310-4883. If they are unavailable to take your call, please leave a voicemail with your name and information so they can return your call.
Please allow at least 3-4 business days for URA to review and process your inquiry.
If you wish to support the Mesquite Heat Fire victims or volunteer fire departments involved in the response, please visit


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