Diane and Steve Kienholz of Puyallup, Washington were asked by their church — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — to drive a box truck with supplies to help victims, and they didn’t hesitate to step up and serve. Their church flew them to Nashville and they drove from there to Alabama, Florida, and Georgia to assist with relief efforts resulting from Hurricane Michael.
In a recent article, I asked the question “How far is out of the way” when helping people. Carlea Irwin of Anchorage went eight blocks out of her way to push a distressed lady in a wheelchair. In our world we need a combination of help during one-on-one moments as well as teams of people helping victims of disasters and catastrophes.
While other volunteer groups provided food and water, this shipment was for on site-workers. Diane, says “The truck was driving chain saws, wheel Barrows, rakes, shovels, brooms, tarps hammers nails wood strips to support 4 local church command centers there. We also helped local organizations. 1st Responders, American Red Cross and worked with the national guard to move 3 shelters for those displaced. They were staying in 3 schools and we helped moved all of them to a big high school in Panama city Beach that was not hit as hard.”
Chain saws are the tools of choice when people need to gain access to homes and roadways. When asked what meant the most to her about this humanitarian effort, Diane replied, “It was that we saw first hand those running to the rescue. The humanity that was alive every where you looked. People helping people in need. To see all the thousands of individual volunteers driving hundreds of miles (some even more than 600 miles) to come down and volunteer to help. They come in on Thursday and Friday with tents and food and lots of great love to serve. Some handing out food and some stay till Sunday night climbing ladders onto roofs, taping holes, cutting fallen trees and clearing the yards of debris.”
In the middle of devastation, individuals and organizations rise to the occasion many times. In the forefront is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Diane explained, “Our church has many farms and ranches that grow the food and they have canneries that can and package the food and their own trucking company that ships the supplies to help those in need. It runs like a well oiled machine. We saw many of our church semis bring these items down to command centers. Trucks were actually on their way to the rescue before Michael hit land. They arrive in town to help 1st Responders so they be out helping others needing help. It was so wonderful to witness it all unfold.”
What touched Steve the most was, “Just being there. Being one small part of all those there to help.”
People helping people. People sharing. The generosity of spirit touches us all and heals our pain and frustrations . . . and for this we should all give thanks.