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From Disaster Survivor...to Disaster Responder

Many, especially those in Tennessee, remember the Nashville floods of May 1 and 2 of 2010.  Two day rain totals reached nearly 20 inches as numerous rivers overflowed their flood stage.  The Cumberland River crested at over 51 feet.  In fact, 31% of Tennessee was declared a major disaster area.  Hope Force was on the ground immediately, providing compassion in action, but there was another story brewing amidst this event.

Veteran Reservists Steve and Deb LaForge had been in Haiti earlier that year, experiencing first hand the horrific earthquake that took place in Port-au-Prince on January 12.  As the building in which they were staying collapsed, they quickly became a part of the search and rescue for others who were trapped.  Returning home, they experienced a lightning strike on their home that caught part of their home on fire.  Soon after, the Nashville flood hit, and they had to evacuate their home.

Deb shares, “No doubt God was protecting us, but at the same time touching our hearts.  Here, 13 years later, we are with Hope Force International.  We have responded all over the U.S. and internationally to those in need, and each time my heart is more convinced that we are doing what God wants.  I pray He will continue to guide us and give us the ability to continue this work.”

This beautiful side of disaster reveals the way in which God has moved the hearts of Steve and Deb through their own first-hand dealings with disasters, and how He has empowered them to be a blessing to innumerable survivors whom they have served over the years.  Steve and Deb have been serving with Hope Force International for 12 years now, and have led numerous teams into disaster areas to bring compassion in action.  They do so with a special empathy and compassion because they themselves have experienced disasters firsthand.  Though unique, this story isn’t uncommon within the ranks of Hope Force.  Many find their way to our organization in order to serve survivors after disasters because they themselves have “weathered storms” in their own lives. 

The reality is that every single one of our Hope Force Reservists is a part of the ranks because of something that challenged them to take the step forward and become trained to provide hope in action.  Maybe there is a prompting in your own life to provide this kind of hope for others?  Would you be willing to take that first step and explore our online training?  Would you consider joining the Hope Force family and provide hope that will change a person’s life?

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