WITH GOD: BEHIND THE SCENES OF A DISASTER
By Vernon Young – Sunday, March 12, 2012
Jeffersonville, IN - Someone once said that there are only two kinds of people in this world: those who are in unselfish service to others and those who are only in service to themselves. I discovered there are people who are willing to make a difference when others are in trouble and in need of help... they belong to that first group.
When Meredith Snyder announced at the Carmel Church that she wanted volunteers to go with her to Jeffersonville to work in the Disaster Relief Warehouse with other Adventist Disaster Response volunteers, my wife, Doris, and I decided that this was necessary work in the service of the Lord.
Meredith and her husband, Walter, arrived at our home at 9 AM Sunday morning. We switched vehicles, took time to pray for our safety and efforts, and then drove to the warehouse in Jeffersonville, an hour and a half journey. This was a first for us. Doris and I had never been involved in an effort such as this. I had been involved in military operations overseas where it was necessary to move civilians from one area to another to save their lives so I knew that what we were doing was going to make a difference to others.
We arrived and checked in with the ADR administrative team, were given a brief overview of operations and then we were all put to work. Doris and Meredith were busy sorting donated personal items into bins to put together pallets of materials that could be dispatched by ADR to those who were in need. Walter and I began by moving stacked pallets with clothing, bedding and other items intended for delivery by the Salvation Army.
This is all behind-the-scenes work. There are no headlines about what these volunteers are doing. They were doing the grunt work necessary to provide supply lines of food, clothing and personal items so necessary to those in need.
The sheer number of donations and contributions was amazing and heart-warming. The generosity of so many people and businesses willing to help out was very humbling to all of us. It wasn't just money that was being donated, it was personal time and service for the benefit of others. We were in good
This warehouse is immense, easily larger than the size of a football field. There was a constant flow of goods off tractor trailers (four while we were there on a Sunday). These donations were stacked on wooden pallets and were ready for sorting and re-packing.
One thing we discovered was that used clothing was in abundance. These items needed to be stacked on pallets and made ready for distribution to the Salvation Army. Three manual lift jacks and two forklifts seemed to be in constant motion moving pallets laden with clothing, bedding, paper goods, cleaning supplies and myriad other items.
One of the forklifts was operated by John Thornton. John, owner of Thornton's Motorcycle Sales in Versailles, Indiana, quickly came to our aid to help us organize these pallets in a single area. In about an hour the task was done and then we began gathering up the empty wooden pallets and stacking them on the far side of the warehouse out of the way so they could be reused.
Another couple, Ellen and James Kreiter, worked along with Walt Snyder to organize a variety of new items onto pallets. Ellen and James were alerted by the North Dakota Conference that volunteers were needed in Indiana following the Marysville-Henryville tornado disasters. They drove over 1,100 miles to be the hands and feet of the Lord. This was their fourth day. They were planning to depart for home on Monday.
Another volunteer who appeared to be very busy coordinating efforts was Eric Freking, pastor of the New Albany church. I don't believe I saw this man sit once during the time we spent working at the warehouse.
Many were wearing a yellow or maroon Adventist Community Services shirt. It was like watching a colony of worker ants busy at collecting, sorting and preparing items for distribution. It warmed my heart to be part of this effort... to be in service to the Lord.