A day in the life of a Scientology Volunteer Minister team responding to Hurricane Harvey in Rockport, Texas
ROCKPORT, Texas, September 12, 2017 (Newswire.com) - When Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas Aug. 25, it damaged or destroyed virtually everything in Rockport—except the town's determination and spirit.
Two weeks on, a team of Scientology Volunteer Ministers (VMs) who flew in from Los Angeles, New York, and points in between, are still there, helping with the arduous task of cleaning up and rebuilding homes throughout Aransas County, including Rockport, Aransas Pass, and Copano Bay.
Working in coordination with the local fire department, each morning Volunteer Ministers (VMs) are dispatched to clean up the houses—and in one case the church—of emergency workers and others providing relief to the community. These are people who have been on the job since the hurricane hit and have not been able to take care of the damage to their own homes.
One Volunteer Minister described a recent day.
"We started at the Salt Lake Baptist Church this morning," he says. With most members of the church congregation in their 80s, requiring a great deal of care, since the hurricane hit, "they have not had time to do anything about damage to the church because they are running the relief center for Copano Bay families, providing them with supplies and food."
Flood water had poured into the church, engulfing the pews. The carpeting, furniture—everything inside was ruined and collecting mold.
"That's where we came in," said the Volunteer Minister. “We carried all of the pews out of the church and lined them up in the parking lot. Then we cleared out the damaged bibles and prayer books. We pulled up and removed the soaked carpet from inside and did a major cleanup of the area."
The hurricane had driven a hole through the wall of the church, which the VMs covered up with boards. The roof had sprung leaks so they laid tarp across it—temporary protection from the rain.
The pastor was able to get on with his work, providing supplies and meals to local families without having to worry about further deterioration to his church. "He couldn't say enough about everything we did," the VM said.
Next stop was the home of the police chief. "He has been working around the clock since the hurricane hit and has had no time to do anything on his own house," said the Volunteer Minister.
The police chief's home was surrounded by debris—large branches, items blown onto the lawn from neighboring houses, and two large trees that had toppled and were sprawled across the backyard. The Volunteer Ministers cleared out the brush, sawed up the fallen trees and hauled everything away.
The police chief's wife thanked them, telling the VMs she had seen them down the street a few days earlier, cleaning up another home, and had been praying that they would come by to help.
The VMs then learned of a firefighter who was worried about his family. He had been so tied up with his responsibilities he had been unable to hook up the water at his home. They rapidly took care of that too before they ended their day.
The Scientology Volunteer Ministers program is a religious social service created in the mid-1970s. Their Hurricane Harvey disaster response has been made possible by a grant from the International Association of Scientologists.
Hurricane Harvey may be the most expensive in U.S. history at an estimated cost of over $190 billion. If you can help, contact the International Scientology Volunteer Ministers Headquarters in Los Angeles at (800) HELP-4-YU or (323) 960-1949 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.