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Survivors and Recovery

Words of Life / Salvation Army
The Truth Network Radio
July 2, 2023 1:19 am

Survivors and Recovery

Words of Life / Salvation Army

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July 2, 2023 1:19 am

In this final episode of our series about The Salvation Army’s Emergency Disaster Services, Bobbi Geery shares some stories of survivors and how The Army goes about helping people in recovery.

Series: Emergency Disaster Services

Our American Stories
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Hi, this is Bernie Dake. You're listening to the Salvation Army's Words of Life. All over the Gulf Coast calling Hurricane Katrina their own tsunami. It is a total catastrophic disaster.

A region that's been utterly devastated. Our response is generous and the need is overwhelming. The president is now touring one of the Salvation Army centers that have been set up to try and distribute relief. Just have the Salvation Army truck. The Salvation Army. The Salvation Army. Thank God for the Salvation Army.

Organizations like the Salvation Army would be taking care of them. The Army's mission is to serve the people who need our help and to preach the gospel of Christ. Welcome back to Words of Life. I'm Bernie Dake. And I'm Sheryl Gillum. Sheryl, I'm very excited that we are able to have Bobbi Geary in this office with us because she is a very busy human being all year round with the disaster response for the Salvation Army. So welcome, Bobbi. Thank you.

And sadly, this is the last of the series, last episode in the series. But I hope that our viewers, our listeners have had a chance to learn more about what we do as it relates to emergency disaster response. Last week, we talked about what happens before, during and after a disaster. And it's just amazing. And we're grateful that you just lend some time to us so we can continue to educate our public.

Yeah. And this week we want to talk about the survivors. You know, I've been to a disaster response where I stand there and I look at all the devastation and I think, oh my goodness, this is, you know, this is devastating. This is horrific. And yet I stand amazed when I talk to people who actually rode out the storms and who actually were, you know, there during that time and go, man, how did they make this?

How did they make it? You know, and I know you have some great stories of those who have been survivors of these storms and we would just like to hear of a few from you. Sure. I'd be happy to share just a couple.

Two personal ones stand out for me, especially. One is in response to the West Virginia floods that we did several years ago. And I remember getting out of the incident command post for an afternoon and we were going out to hand out some gift cards and provide just some bulk distribution of items. And we were set up at this church that had been pretty well devastated from this event, but yet were still willing to provide services to others. And I'm standing there looking at all of the stuff that people could pick up on their own and this lady comes over to me, elderly woman, and she says her first words were, I survived. I said, okay, tell me more.

Tell me about this. And she said, well, my husband and I were at home and he didn't want to leave, but I just knew that we needed to leave because I just knew those floodwaters were going to rise and it was going to impact our home. So I called my nephew and he was able to come over and get us in his car. And once we got in the car, we couldn't get very far before we had to drive up an incline and sit in our car for 12 hours as the waters started rising.

And she said they got to just the back end of the car, but they didn't go any further. And she just was talking about their experience of survival, like genuine survival, and that it took them 12 hours to sit there. And so I was like, wow, you know, that's courageous.

I can't even imagine. And so, you know, what I learned from that was that sometimes people just need to tell their stories. A few minutes later, I saw the lady walk to someone else and she started the same conversation. And I just thought how healing it is to share those stories of survival. That's that ministry presence that you were talking about at the very first episode when we started this.

That's exactly right. It's just being there for people so that they can express what they've just gone through and have someone to listen to it with a compassionate ear. Normal Sunday, I was supposed to clean house and he was just relaxing on the couch. So we both decided to relax on the couch. We knew we'd been told all week a storm's coming, but like so many of us, we ignored it.

We knew what time to be ready. One family in Kearney lost multiple homes. In fact, several members of the Knox family rode out the storm together in a storm shelter, but the parents' home and the son's home across the street, both homes flattened. We had gotten in the cellar. About that time, that's when the sirens were really wailing.

But then they quit. So we thought, well, you know, it quit. It ripped the siren out of the ground or it took it out. And one of the last things I remember is the turbine on top of the cellar. It was ripped off and debris sort of falling through the hole and my son was covering his girlfriend and her mom. And me and my dad were holding the cellar door down because it was trying to rip it off.

So we're actually holding onto the door and then we heard everything outside. It took us a while to find actually any of the horses and the two dogs. There were several people around us that had lost their animals. You know, until this happened, as a person of society or mankind, I was giving up on people's goodness. And people like the Salvation Army let me feel that they're still good out there.

They're still people that's willing to go above and beyond. And they knew, you know, that his mother had lost her house. They knew that we had lost our business.

They knew we had lost, you know, our home. And so they came in knowing and made us feel more comfortable that it was going to be okay and that they would be there. I always thought it was just clothes that they did. They did the clothes. They did the food.

They could help you with if you had to get a new vehicle, which all of ours were taken out, we had to get a new vehicle. And they always came and had a smile or a hug or, you know, just something. Somebody to talk to.

And that was very important. I mean, we had each other, but it was nice to talk to somebody else, to talk to someone that didn't even know us and wanted to be kind and caring and help for no reason and not expect anything. Without the Salvation Army, we wouldn't have been able to recover what we have. It's always, you always hear in the background, well, call Salvation Army if you, you know, need something. Or Salvation Army wants to help.

What can they do? And it still doesn't stop. And here we are a year later, and they're still there. So speaking of being there, the other story I'd like to share is from my time at the Baton Rouge floods. And we were participating in a bulk distribution, and I hadn't gotten prepared to actually do that work. And so I'm in a line of handing out food boxes, water cleanup kits and such. And this car comes through, and it's very hot.

Baton Rouge, you know, August, steamy, hot, hot. And I didn't have a cap on. And this lady and her mother come through in their Jeep, and she notices that I'm beet red. You know, redheads kind of tend to get that red look to them. And so she's like, you need a hat. Here, take my hat.

Mind you, this is a survivor who's lost pretty much everything. And she wants to give me something. I'm like, oh, no, I don't need your hat. And she's like, yeah, yeah, you do. And so I eventually, I took her hat, thanked her, put it on my head.

I still have that hat. And it just shows the gratitude, the ability of disaster survivors to be resilient and even to look at others and see their needs in the midst of their own devastation. And so those are just two personal stories that I carry with me regularly when I'm thinking about our disaster response with The Salvation Army. When disaster strikes, the playing field is leveled.

That's right. It doesn't matter who you are or what you do, everyone is affected by disaster. And that's an incredible couple of stories, Bobbi. Thank you. Now, what about recovery and long term? When does The Salvation Army decide, well, we're going to pack up and leave? Or how do we participate in the recovery of communities that have been affected by disaster? Well, Bernie, we may pack up the disaster response part, but we don't leave the community. As we already mentioned previously, we're there before, during, and after a disaster. And so when it comes to the after, a lot of it is dependent on the funding that's been raised as a result of the disaster. How much we've received in corporate donations, how much we've received in individual donations in order to then determine what we can offer in long term recovery. And so those numbers then determine exactly how and what we'll do moving forward with assistance beyond just the immediate disaster response. Amen. And then we take that money and we partner with other agencies and organizations for that long term recovery, right? Yes. And it becomes a community effort.

That's exactly right, yeah. Well, Bobbi, we are very glad that you were able to carve out some time to spend with us and our listeners. Thank you. And we will continue to pray for your ministry with The Salvation Army in emergency disaster services.

If you have a disaster story or a desire to get involved and you're not sure how to do that, you can contact us right here at God bless you. It was just a normal day. I was watching the weather and then the sirens was on and I didn't know what to do. So I just hid.

National Weather Service in Norman has issued a tornado warning for El Reno, Yukon. I grew up in that house since I was born. I lost my mother and father. I was trying to live there again and fix it up and then this happened.

I had to start all over. People don't realize what they got until they lose it. I didn't know what to do until The Salvation Army helped me. I didn't really know much about them until you're a victim. You really don't know. They bought me a new home, paid my bills.

I don't have to pay nothing on the house. All I had to do is just be here. And it's been a year and I still go there just to say thank you. It still amazes me how caring they are and they don't just put you in a place and go away. And I cried and cried and I had sad tears and then I had happy tears and they were right there. I'm sorry, but they're wonderful.

My life ended right then and they took it back. I have hope because of them. The Salvation Army's mission, Doing the Most Good, means helping people with material and spiritual needs. You become a part of this mission every time you give to The Salvation Army. Visit to offer your support. And we'd love to hear from you. Call 1-800-229-9965 or visit to connect.

Tell us how we can help. Share prayer requests or your testimony. With your permission, we would love to use your story on the show. You can also subscribe to Words of Life on your favorite podcast store. Or visit to learn about more programs produced by The Salvation Army. And if you don't have a church home, we invite you to visit your local Salvation Army worship center. They'll be glad to see you. Join us next time for The Salvation Army's Words of Life.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-02 02:33:04 / 2023-07-02 02:38:34 / 6

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