If you've ever been affected by a tornado or flood, or more recently been left in the dark in an ice storm, then you've probably benefited from the work of a Baptist.
The Southern Baptist Disaster Relief organization includes tens of thousands of volunteers who literally span the globe. Since the September 11th attacks, Baptist volunteers have been working in New York City to help and heal. But as News on Six anchor Terry Hood tells us, you don't have to go to New York City to see these volunteers in action.
When ice brought down trees and power lines across Oklahoma this month, volunteers for the Baptist Disaster Relief Mission did what they always do, they went to work. First in, the chain saw unit, which helped clear out brush and tree limbs in Perry. â€œBeans and ham, alright. For dinner tonight.â€ Then came the feeding unit, with the promise of a good, hot meal. "Two or three gallons of BBQ sauce, wouldn't that be good.â€ Albert Trimble gave 32 years of his life to the Corp of Engineers in Tulsa. Now he does God's work, heading up Baptist Relief feeding units in northeastern Oklahoma.
Albert got his first good look at disaster after Hurricane Andrew laid ruin to a huge swath of the Gulf Coast in 1992. "And then I went to LA in 1994 in the earthquake. And then I went to the Houston floods.â€ The side of his mobile truck is a role call of cities devastated, homes and lives left in shreds. But Albert sees this list through different eyes. He remembers neighbors pulling together, the gratitude of strangers, and the healing effects of a good dose of humor. "I was down getting propane and the lady there says she may come by and get some meals and have a candlelight dinner, cause that's all they've got. (laughs)â€
Albert didn't set out to spend the better part of his retirement on the scene of disasters. But the words of a fellow volunteer more than a decade ago made a permanent impression on his heart. "People talk about tithing at church and all, money. But you also need to tithe your time. And this is my way of doing it. I can't preach or teach or anything, so this is my way of contributing.â€
Let others clear away the brush and mend the lines. Albert sticks with his beans and ham. And is secure in knowing that his contribution, joined with others, becomes a powerful force, one that can change lives. "So you're part of the whole plan. Part of the plan. Thatâ€™s a good place to be. I can't think of any better.â€
Albert Trimble is one 16 Oklahoma volunteers who in New York getting ready to respond to the biggest disaster any of them has ever faced.