ON-GOING FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE NEEDED TO HELP FAMILIES
The week after Christmas, Kathy O’Day, LCC Director of Disaster Response, Jamie Miller, LCC Staff, and the second LCC Disaster Response team arrived at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Paducah, Kentucky, to work in surrounding tornado affected towns. They will be returning with a third team this week to continue to assess damages and serve in hard-hit communities.
Last week, the LCC Lutheran Early Response Teams (L.E.R.T.) volunteers again worked in Gilbertsville, Kentucky. This community was in the direct path of the EF-3 & EF-4, 270-mile long tornado which at times was 1-1/2 miles wide. The damage is devastating with many of the homes completely leveled or severely damaged. There are many uprooted trees everywhere, landing on property, homes, and cars. The tornado was so fierce that some trees literally pierced through homes.
The LCC L.E.R.T. team completed chainsaw work at another eight homes this week. We were able to show the mercy and presence of Jesus Christ and that people could be trusted to do what we said we would with no cost. Several of these sites were large two-day projects.
Each of the homeowners was thankful that the following LCC Disaster Response team volunteers had come from so far to help them in their time of need:
Good Shepherd, Frankfort – Joel and Lori Posless
Immanuel, Dundee – Matt Flynn
Lord of Life, LaFox – Nicole Karabetsos, Jeff Straughn
Messiah, Sterling – Jacob Beets
St. John, Wheaton – Marty Johnson, Anna Piro
Trinity, Davenport – Ken Stotmeister
Building Trust and Giving Hope to Homeowner
Mr. Stan and his family lost their home during the tornado and are now living in his damaged business. He had multiple trees down all around his business and on his attached land housing cattle and pigs. Shortly after the tornado, his business was broken into, so he had been very reluctant to ask for any assistance or trust that someone would not steal what he had left. He watched us work at other homes around him before he approached us to ask for help. Our team spent two days clearing trees from both properties, and he was very grateful.
Serving Faithful Homeowner with Property Recovery
Mr. H is a young man with a family who was in the process of building a home on his parent’s 55-acre ranch property. He is an excellent woodworker and has his own mill. The tornado destroyed his home, barns, tools, workshop, and vehicles. He and his father had 70 head of cattle and now have only 20 left. Mr. H. told us he is still regaining his strength after an extended hospitalization and rehab from COVID-19.
He is overwhelmed and sometimes emotional about the many losses he, his family, and friends have now experienced, but he has a strong faith that God is with him. He was very appreciative to have fellow brothers and sisters in Christ come to his help. He knows that with the number of trees down, it will take months to clear his land and put fencing back up so they can return to raising cattle and other animals as they did before. As Mr. H stated, “any assistance the teams can give will get him further down the road to recovery.”
The LCC Disaster Response Ministry never charges those we serve. Please donate to the LCC Disaster Response General Fund or LCC Equipment Maintenance & Fuel Expense Fund so that we may continue to show the Mercy, Compassion, Presence and Proclamation of Jesus Christ to those suffering and in need.
Please keep the church and the families affected by the tornadoes in your prayers, including all of the LCC Disaster Response volunteers and staff as we deploy to the hardest-hit areas of Kentucky to help during the long recovery process.
L.E.R.T. MERCY IN ACTION
On Monday, January 3, LCC held a Basic LCMS L.E.R.T. Training for new members at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Paducah, Kentucky, led by Deaconess Kathy O’Day, LCC Director of Disaster Response. This is the church that L.E.R.T. teams from around the country are working out of to serve those affected by the multiple tornadoes in Kentucky in December.
The 13 new L.E.R.T. volunteers are from the following churches:
St. John, Lexington
St. Paul, Paducah
Shepherd of the Hills, Crossville
It is good to see how the disaster response ministry is continuing to grow with volunteers willing to share the mercy, compassion, presence, and proclamation of Jesus Christ in service to those suffering and in need.