When the twin towers fell in New York City, people across the country rushed to help. Within days one Oklahoma man, a former preacher from Sapulpa, found himself in a role he will never forget.
News on Six anchor Terry Hood says disaster is something of a way of life for Sam Porter. He left the pulpit at First Baptist church in Sapulpa several years ago to lead Oklahoma's Southern Baptist Disaster relief team.
He's since seen more than his share of tornadoes, floods and ice storms. When disaster struck on September 11th, Sam knew right where he needed to be. "After the World Trade Center fell, a temporary morgue was set up here, on this city street." And three days later, Sam Porter found himself here as well. "One of our men walked up this little hill and discovered the morgue. And the man from the morgue said boy, we're glad to see you guys from Oklahoma. We need help."
Sam was placed in charge of the chaplainry at the temporary morgue. He prayed over hundreds of bodies, and thousands of body parts. Unimaginable horror, that Sam says he survived through grace. "The first day I was here, inside this perimeter, the power of God was to me, overwhelming. We prayed probably hundreds of times every day with hundreds of guys, men and women. And we were never denied. Everyone always said, would you do that for me."
Sam spent almost two weeks in New York on that first visit. He's been back three times since, coordinating Oklahoma volunteers, and doing what he can to heal the brokenhearted. For Sam Porter, Ground Zero is the place where heaven and hell collided. "I had the question asked hundreds of times, where is God in this? And I would say, well God is in this by you and me, and thousands of people pulling together and praying together, rising up and saying, we're going to make it."
Thousands of volunteers from Baptist Disaster Relief teams have traveled to New York since September 11th. They've cleaned apartments, washed clothes, served meals, and prayed.
Sam Porter says they'll be there as long as the need lasts.