Disaster Relief volunteers build own family network in work

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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KT) – Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief team members value each other as more than co-workers. They become family.


Carrie Fondaw, who is in Lakes Charles, Louisana, this week on her third deployment, has found a circle of friends who are closer than brothers and sisters. While they give of themselves during the day to help those in desperate need, it is the time they spend with each other that becomes a lasting relationship, she said.


“We sat outside the night before last and made us a circle in the parking lot,” she said. “We talked to each other about our lives. We shared and learned so much about each other. It was like a revival in the parking lot. They are my family. We go out in the community as a family to help them and bring God to them. I love it.”


In her three deployments, she has worked in three different DR areas – chainsaw crew, kitchen and this time it’s mud-out work. Houses in the Lake Charles area suffered severe flood damage. It’s the same area where Kentucky Baptist DR was called out to late last summer. Fondaw was serving in Alexandria, Louisiana, that week.


She said the flooding is devastating. The mud-out teams remove damaged sheet rock and flooring from homes. The people in Louisiana had barely recovered from weather damage last summer before the recent flooding hit them hard again.


Fondaw said the residents were happy to see the golden shirts of Kentucky Baptist DR coming again but certainly are asking why them a second time. Fondaw said she stresses to them that God will get them through it and there will be unexpected blessings.


“God gives us trials to make us stronger,” she said. “It brings people in the community together. There’s a lot of blessings that go around these disasters. One lady we were out with two days ago said she now knows every single one of her neighbors and knows about their lives. These storms, I believe, have caused them to come closer. It’s a disaster and it’s terrible. But when you get on the other side, God is there and God is good.”


Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief Director Ron Crow said it all starts with answering the call to GO.


“I am so grateful for our Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers, for their passionate hearts, eagerness to serve and willingness to go," he said. "Many people have good intentions, but when our faith is followed up by action (James 2), we experience things we never thought possible. Our volunteers serving in Lake Charles will experience lifelong memories and God-sized moments because they answered the call to GO. Everyone can pray, most can give, some can GO!”  


Fondaw said God has been good to her, giving her a family she never knew in the Disaster Relief workers. She worked another flooding event in Stanton and served in the kitchen, which she said was extremely difficult. But Blue Hat Larry Hunt made that a family atmosphere too.


“You would think dragging limbs is a lot harder but the hours were so long” for the kitchen workers, she said. “The crew I worked with, even though it was hard and long hours, Larry made it family. Disaster Relief is a family. That’s what I try to get across to people.”


Fondaw said she’s done about every job except chaplain, which she said through a laugh, “I don’t know about that one.”


But if the “family” asked her to do it, she’d try.

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