LCC Disaster Response Deploying to Florida this Weekend to Help Assess Homeowner Property Damage and Assist with Recovery From Hurricane Ian
Working with LCMS Florida-Georgia District Disaster Response Coordinators to Help Impacted Churches, Individuals and Families in Hardest-Hit Areas with Recovery Efforts
Hurricane Ian, one of the most powerful storms ever to strike the US mainland, battered southwest Florida with high winds, rain, and storm surges as it moved inland. The death toll reported is now more than 100 as search and rescue teams continue to go door to door throughout impacted communities.
As the storm swept ashore in southwest Florida last week, it raged across the state with catastrophic 150 mph winds and a deadly storm surge of up to 18 feet. Estimated to be about 140 miles wide, it downgraded from a high category 4 hurricane to a tropical storm as it moved slowly northeast, causing vast destruction and major flooding.
Lutheran Church Charities Disaster Response Director Kathy O'Day and Ed Boerman, Northern Illinois District Disaster Response Coordinators, have been collaborating with the LCMS Disaster Response and District Disaster Response Coordinators Joel Mathews and Jay Wendland from the Florida-Georgia District.
Rev. Ross Johnson, Director, Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS) Disaster Response, and Jay Wendland have asked Kathy O'Day, Ed Boerman, and L.E.R.T. team leader Marty Johnson to be in Florida this week to be part of the assessment team.
Approximately twenty-six LCC L.E.R.T. volunteers will begin serving out of Lakeside Lutheran Church in Venice, Florida, which is located 30 minutes from Englewood and Port Charlotte. Pastor David Dahlke has graciously welcomed our team to stay at Lakeside Lutheran. Brenda Gustafson, Church Administrator shared, “We are an older congregation and cannot get out into the community, so we are thrilled to serve you so that you can be the hands and feet of Jesus in our communities.”
LCC L.E.R.T. volunteers will begin arriving in Florida on Sunday, October 9, and will be serving in our designated communities until the end of October.
LCMS Disaster Response has asked us to begin our work with two heavily damaged churches, Trinity Lutheran of Southwest in Port Charlotte and Redeemer Lutheran Church & School in Englewood, and remove downed trees at our host church Lakeside Lutheran. All three congregations also have several staff and congregation members who have property damage. In addition, we will serve affected residents as requested in these communities.
LCC L.E.R.T. volunteers will provide chainsaw, heavy equipment, and boom lift assistance, and some mucking and gutting of a flooded church sanctuary. Our teams will also provide spiritual and emotional care as many people took shelter in their homes and endured horrific conditions while the hurricane passed through their cities. Residents are overwhelmed with the devastation and need the reassurance and hope found in Jesus Christ.
LCC never goes where we are not invited.
Many hearts are heavy at the Chicago Office of Emergency Management Communications (OEMC) after the sudden death of dispatcher Gina Marie Kurelic. Gina had served as a dispatcher since 1995 and was loved by her colleagues for her dedication. She was 52 years old and left behind a son.
To help the Chicago OEMC move through this difficult loss, LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs Emma (LCC Staff), Hannah (LCC Staff), and Ruthie (LCC Staff), along with their handlers, were present for the two evening shifts to walk with them in their grief. The K-9s provided love and comfort the OEMC staff needed at that moment.
We thank God for these dedicated women and men who answer the calls for assistance 24 hours, seven days a week. Today we pray for them for God’s peace, comfort, and love to fill them as they grieve the loss of their co-worker and friend Gina Kurelic.
“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18
Thirty LCC L.E.R.T. Chainsaw Volunteers Provide Tree Care at Veterans Cemeteries Throughout the U.S. in Annual Day of Service Event
Saluting Branches is a national event for arborists and other tree care professionals throughout the country to unite and provide exceptional tree care to keep our veterans cemeteries safe and beautiful places for all those who visit.
Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery - Elwood, Illinois
Dayton National Cemetery - Dayton, Ohio
Southern Wisconsin Veterans Cemetery - Union Grove, Wisconsin
Many of our L.E.R.T. team members are veterans themselves, but all who serve at this event feel it is an honor and privilege to give back to those who served our country.
Cross, Yorkville – Derek and Amy Kowalczyk
Good Shepherd, Elgin – David Vollrath
Good Shepherd, Frankfort – Joel Powless
Heartland, Normal – Tony Buchberger
Immanuel, Palatine – Steve MacKay
Lord of Life, Elburn – John Griffin, Kevin Krage, Max Metz, Bill Pietsch, Larry Zagorski
Shepherd of the Hills, McHenry – Alan Holm, Ron Jones, Gary Rucker
St. John, Wheaton – Dave Mummah
St. John, Wilmette – Tom Morrison
St. Paul, Rockford – Dean and Carol Ulrich
St. Peter, Schaumburg – Missy Dieckman, Bob and Barbara Royce, Laurie Trudell, Ken and Vicki Kiviranta
Trinity, Villa Park – Jim and Debbie Long
Iowa, Indiana, Wisconsin
Trinity, Davenport, Iowa – Ken Stotmeister
St. John, Dillsboro, Indiana – Steve Black
Brookfield, Brookfield, Wisconsin – Laura Ciletti, CJ Kraft, Curt and Kristen Kolell, Cheryl Delair
Change Lives of Low-Income Chicago Inner-City Children
Help Us Support 16 Christ the King Students and Growing Enrollment through the 2022-2023 School Year
Scholarship Goal: $48,000
Donations Received: $19,645
We are closer to the goal each week!
Principal Geri and the teachers at Christ the King pour themselves into each student. They often bring students falling behind in public schools, back up to speed and on track with their peers.
Offering small enrollment, providing the opportunity for more individual attention, violin class, dance class, a community garden, and an emphasis on serving others, Christ the King is an anchor of hope and light in their Chicago neighborhood.
Help Haley Continue to Learn in Safe and Welcoming Environment
My daughter loves going to Christ the King! She enjoys playing with her classmates and building relationships with her teachers. If Haley gets this scholarship, it will help both of us tremendously. She’ll be able to continue to go to the school she likes and build healthy relationships with her teachers and classmates.
She will continue to learn in an environment that she knows is safe and welcoming, and I won’t have to worry about her education. I know she will be in good hands learning from her teachers at Christ the King!
With Your Help, Michael Will Remain in School Despite Financial Hardship
Even though I don't have the financial support to pay for a more rewarding educational program for Michael, I knew him going to the neighborhood school would not be a wise decision due to the safety concerns and the low scores that the school is known to have. I decided to send him to Christ the King, where safety and education are a staple of the school. My income from SSDI (health-related income, multiple sclerosis) hinders me from being able to pay tuition, and I'd be extremely disappointed if he is expelled because of my lack of income.
If possible, I would be grateful if Michael could be considered a scholarship recipient to remain at CTK because he is soaring into greatness. He doesn't deserve to be removed due to his mom's lack of financial support.
My name is Mark White Jr., and I am a new enrollee at Christ The King in 2nd grade. I came from a school with over 20 kids in a classroom to now a very small setting. Wow! This is going to be different but different in a good way because now my teacher knows me and what I may need to improve my errors. It also wouldn't be hard making friends, which I've already done. It looks like I'm over the butterflies I had before school started, and it didn't take long.
Mark White Jr.
I'm Ebony White, Mark's mom. I was referred to Christ The King by a family who also attended there. It has only been a couple of weeks, and already, Mark has made improvements on things that I thought I only recognized. I can already see that I've made the right decision to enhance Mark's education. Thank you, Ms. Lloyd, for seeing what I may not see.
I'm looking forward to the upcoming years of more achievements and overcoming hurdles Mark may run into. Thank you, Christ The King, for being that new family we needed in education.
Thank you to all who are assisting with tuition relief for my son Mark.
My name is Regina, and I graduated from Christ The King. I was a troubled kid, but Christ The King never gave up on me. They always pushed me to be my best and to do my best. And I'm so grateful for them and the guidance they have on me.
Now that I'm grown, I want the same for my two small children, but I can't afford to pay the tuition. Since COVID-19, it's been really hard to find a job. This had been challenging for me, and I'm also homeless and living with my grandmother. I'm thankful for all the things I have. And I just want my kids to go to school that will never give up on them, no matter what. Christ The King never gave up on me, and that's why I'm still here today.
Magic is an 8th grader who has been with CTK since preschool. He is a talented violin player who assists in playing the violin for service.
His mom is a teacher's aide in a public school classroom. She helped CTK with online learning while school was virtual. She has a daughter who attended Christ the King and just graduated from high school. This is a year that will be a bit more difficult for mom as she has to assist with college tuition at Indiana State.
It will be a pleasure working with him again in person. Even though he reported weekly to have his assignments checked, he was missing the interaction with his classmates.
His mom is thankful that she still has employment, although her salary was cut. She is also looking forward to Jaylen graduating this year after skipping 7th grade; after great scores on his end-of-the-year exams. He looks forward to someday going into real estate investments.
We are proud of his success, he has been with us since Kindergarten, and he will always be a part of this family as he moves on in his educational pursuits. Pastor John and Principal Geri
CTK has a special ed teacher who helps Zion once a week because they have problems getting him assistance from the Board of Education.
Zion likes working on IXL and helping his grandmother. His mom is a clerk at Home Depot who has been out of work a few times during the pandemic. He does not want to graduate this year because he wants to stay at Christ the King, where he feels "at home."
She much appreciated the help she received last year from the friends of Lutheran Church Charities. She is paying what she can and has not asked for help, but her family is her main concern.
Donte loves to play the violin and does not want to leave Christ the King.
Your generous donation will enable Christ the King to continue the ministry of Christ-changing lives through their dedicated staff.
My name is Terina, and I'm a mom of five. Mirahri is our baby boy that's currently enrolled in Christ the King as a 6th grader, and we would love for him to continue the outstanding education that this school offers.
Our son, Marquan, who's 20, graduated from Christ the King and is now a college student studying cyber security. Milan, who's 16, also graduated from Christ the King and is currently a junior with honors at Kenwood Academy High School. Torri is four years old and will soon be enrolled in Christ the King preschool program.
We are greatly appreciative of your support in helping us provide a life-changing education for our children. Thank you all in advance.
Cayman's mom has had difficulty paying tuition since COVID-19 started. She is a secretary but has worked from home for the past two years because the office was closed. She had to take a reduction in salary. Christ the King helps her through the food pantry.
"If it were not for the donors of Lutheran Church Charities, she would have had no way to meet her tuition obligation. We would like to see Cayman graduate from Christ the King. He is now a sixth grader who tries very hard and loves science. He wants to have good grades and perfect attendance so that he can be accepted at a good high school. He wants to have a good job so that he can take care of his mom when he grows up and finishes college." Geri Brazeal, Principal, Christ the King Lutheran School
"I have to work hard in school so that I can get a college scholarship," says Cayman.
Zayd is 12 years old and will be entering 8th grade at CTK, his last year. Six years ago, his mother abandoned him at the airport, and he was found wandering around looking for her. When asked where he lived, he didn't know, but he remembered that he went to school at CTK and remembered Pastor Brazeal.
Through help from LCC, Pastor Brazeal, working with DCFS, was able to have Zayd's grandmother (who was in her 80s) be given full custody of her grandson. Grandma Kenny, now in her 90s, with the help of the Church community of CTK, the Brazeals, teacher TaAqua, and grandma Kenny's daughter, Zayd, has thrived in so many ways.
Over the past years, he has jumped the 1.5-grade level. A child age 12 would typically function in the later part of 6th or 7th grade. Academically Zayd can do 8th-grade work.
Zayd plays the violin, acolytes for worship services, and excels in math. When he enters high school, he wants to play on the high school baseball team. He plans to become a doctor when he grows up. Zayd has a servant's heart and is always willing to help other students. He helps Pastor Brazeal with the cleaning of the school, and when Pastor Brazeal goes to the tent cities, Zayd always goes with him to help.
This school season Morgan will move to first grade. While in Kindergarten, Morgan was already reading at a 1st-grade level.
She's a voracious reader! She's also very artistic and inquisitive and loves to take pictures, especially of nature.
Morgan enjoys going on field trips and exploring the world around her.
She loves to help out Pastor John, Principal Geri, and her mom, a CTK teacher, around the school.
"We are indeed blessed to have so much help to make it possible for the children to attend a Christian School during this time of stress and sickness and job uncertainties. Bless you!" Principal Geri Brazeal
Over the past 49 years, John, Geri, and the staff of CTK have touched the lives of hundreds of children and their parents with the gospel of Christ's love and forgiveness, giving them hope, a purpose, and a future. Christ the King has a proven track record with students, who learned their worth in Jesus by keeping them on the straight path, focused on making a difference in the lives of others and staying away from an inner-city life, which could be so very easy to fall into.
As they prepare to begin a new school year, it is crucial that they can continue serving their community. Currently, Christ the King has only one full-time paid teacher, and the rest are volunteers. Out of her love for the students and commitment to the community, TaAqua voluntarily cut her salary in half and stayed to make sure the school would remain open. She supports herself and her daughter, Morgan, and is a caregiver for Zayd, both Christ the King students.
On Saturday, October 1, Pastor Ramirez received seven boxes of bagels and eight pounds of cookies and other baked goods to hand out to families Tabor is ministering to and to use as refreshments following Hispanic worship services at the church.
Financial Support Needed to Help with Medical Expenses for 10-Year-Old Haitian Boy Living in Center of Refuge Orphanage
10-year-old Nickerson lives in the Center of Refuge orphanage that is supported by Ministry in Mission in Jacmel, Haiti. He must have six teeth extracted and one repaired. The dental work including medication and transportation is nearly $1,000.
Ministry in Mission
Please prayerfully consider donating to help Nickerson with his medical needs.
Kathy O’Day, LCC Director of Disaster Response, Presents at National Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS) Disaster Response Conference
Participating in the conference were also LCC L.E.R.T. team leaders Marty and Anna Johnson, Pete and Christel Springmire from St. John, Wheaton, Illinois, and Mark and Beverly Brueggemann from St. Paul, Grafton, Wisconsin.
It was a very informative conference, including planning for the LCMS response to Hurricane Ian.
Pastor Karl Gibbs, LCC K-9 Regional Coordinator - Missouri Valley and LCMS Missouri District Disaster Response Coordinator (DDRC), was presented with the 2022 LCMS Disaster Response Servant Heart Award for his willing service to those affected by disasters.
Lutheran Church Charities extends sincere congratulations to Pastor Gibbs for this honor!
On Wednesday, September 28, LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs Abraham & Beloved (Trinity - Hicksville, New York), and LCC Kare 9 Military Ministry Dog Claudia (Trinity - Toledo, Ohio) attended a Yellow Ribbon Mental Health Wellness Event for the Air National Guard from Niagara Falls and Syracuse. The focus was on providing ways to relieve stress in a very stressful environment.
The K-9s provided a pleasant, relaxing diversion for the service men and women, their spouses, and the many presenters and vendors. The K-9 handlers had many great conversations with the chaplains there, presenting how faith can be a source of strength in demanding situations.
Almost everyone visited the team's table, petted the comfort dogs, and left with a smile!
LCC Disaster Response Ready to Deploy to Florida to Help Assess Property with Catastrophic Damage from Hurricane Ian
Working with LCMS Florida-Georgia District Disaster Response Coordinators to Help Impacted Individuals and Families in Hardest-Hit Areas with Recovery Efforts
"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." (Psalm 34:18)
More than 2.5 million homes and businesses were left without power as the storm swept ashore in southwest Florida on Wednesday afternoon, bringing “catastrophic” 150 mph winds and a deadly storm surge of up to 18 feet. Hours later, the storm – estimated to be about 140 miles wide – was downgraded from a high category 4 hurricane to a tropical storm as it moved slowly northeast, causing major flooding.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said it brought “historic” damage to the state. “We’ve never seen a flood event like this,” DeSantis said.
Rev. Ross Johnson, Director, Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS) Disaster Response and Jay Wendland have asked Kathy O’Day and L.E.R.T. team leader Marty Johnson to travel to Florida next week to be part of the assessment team.
Please pray for the safety of those in the path of Hurricane Ian, including all of the LCC Disaster Response volunteers and staff, as we deploy to the hardest-hit areas of Florida to help during the long recovery process.
Joyfully serving together in Christ,
Lutheran Church Charities
LCC works in coordination with LCMS Disaster Response national and local districts of the LCMS.
Hurricane Ian Hits West Coast Florida; LCC Disaster Response Is Monitoring and Ready to Respond When Invited
When it is safe to enter the disaster-affected areas, the FL-GA DDRCs will assess the damage and then extend the invite to L.E.R.T. volunteers to deploy to offer needed assistance. Lutheran Church Charities L.E.R.T. teams are on standby and ready to respond as needed.
The LCC Disaster Response Ministry never charges those we serve. Please donate to the LCC Disaster Response Fund so that, when invited, we may continue to show the Mercy, Compassion, Presence and Proclamation of Jesus Christ to those suffering and in need.
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