Volunteers of all stripes and ages descend with compassion and hard work on southern Louisiana's flood-weary communities. More volunteers are still needed.
Updated 9-2-2016Volunteer in Louisiana
When an army in orange shirts showed up in Carole Lipscomb’s driveway, the Army had literally arrived. Dressed in “civies” and bright-orange Samaritan’s Purse volunteer T-shirts, 20 U.S. Army men and women had voluntarily traveled from Ft. Polk—three hours north of Baton Rouge—to help flood victims. They were an answer to Carole’s prayers.
“This was the first time I thought I was going to have to go through a flood by myself, but God poured a blessing on me that I couldn’t imagine,” said Carole, who’d been flooded twice previously in different houses. “I asked God to give me enough grace and mercy and the strength to help me start working in the house again. Three seconds later I got a call. ‘This is Paul from Samaritan’s Purse.’”
These soldiers are among the hundreds of volunteers who’ve joined our response to vast flooding in and around the Louisiana cities of Baton Rouge, Lafayette, and Gonzales. More than 22 inches of rain in less than 48 hours flooded more than 100,000 homes and now leaves south Louisiana communities trying to reclaim their lives from the historic deluge.
Sergeant First Class Anthony Trimboli, who leads this group day to day, was surprised that so many of his soldiers had shown up 6:30 on a Friday morning to spend the weekend helping flood victims. He also said he was glad his soldiers would get to see him work.
“I see them work hard every day. They bust their butt for me,” Trimboli said. “But right now I’m not in charge of them. I’m just one of their buddies out here doing what we can to help people. Most of the time they don’t get to see me doing the hard work. Most of the time they just hear me yelling commands to do what’s supposed to be done.
“Working together side by side with them is something that will stick with me for a while, and I think it builds respect between both of us.”
Lives Shaped Through Flood, Relief
Veteran Samaritan’s Purse Site Team Leader Paul Brock says he was impressed and energized by the hard work and enthusiasm of Trimboli’s platoon. Earlier in the week, he’d been similarly impressed by a group of students from Liberty University.
“I love these young people,” Paul said. “There isn’t anything they won’t do. From start until we finish they’re on the ball. If they don’t know what they’re doing, they ask how to do it. Nothing goes unfinished. They were unbelievable. I cried when they left.”
More than 1,000 volunteers have completed cleaning out debris and wet walls and flooring from 151 homes in East Baton Rouge, Lafayette, and Ascension parishes. Through our witness and the work of Billy Graham Rapid Response Team chaplains, more than 28 people have repented of their sin and received Christ as their Savior.
For believers, including Carole, the flood and the volunteer response have reminded them of their dependence on God.
“I know that, no matter what, He has walked before me each and every step of the way,” Carole said.
Please continue to pray for Louisiana and our disaster relief response. Samaritan’s Purse currently is at work in three parishes—East Baton Rouge, Lafayette, and Ascension—and surrounding areas. Volunteers are needed for many weeks to come; for more information, see the Samaritan’s Purse Volunteer Network.