“An Archeological Dig into our Past”

July 3, 2013 • United States

Samaritan's Purse volunteers recover precious belongings for a fire victim in Colorado

Jeffrey Zink felt overwhelmed when looking at the rubble that had been his home.

“It was … the most difficult emotional experience I’ve ever been through,” he said.

GiveZink’s home was one of hundreds destroyed by the Black Forest Fire that consumed 16,000 acres northeast of Colorado Springs in June. He knew there would not be much left to find when his family was allowed back into the burned area, but it was still hard to process.

“We came out the first two days and we literally sat like Job in the ashes and cried and realized, ‘we can’t do this, we can’t do this,’” he said.

Samaritan’s Purse is helping homeowners like the Zink cope with the disaster. Volunteer crews, working out of our base at Mountain Springs Church in Colorado Springs, are sorting through the rubble and sifting the ashes, looking for anything that can be salvaged.

Working alongside Rapid Response Team chaplains from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, we are providing both physical and spiritual help for people who have lost everything.

7-3-13-Colorado-fire-1366US-A-019“These guys show up and say, ‘Yeah we can. We can do this together,’” Zink said. “We would not have had the emotional strength, the physical strength to be able to do this, without their help.”

The volunteer team–“truly professional,” according to Zink—began working, trying to recover what they could.

“We got to watch and stand and watch as they began to pull the rubble away and to reveal some precious treasures,” Zink said.

Samaritan’s Purse volunteers found a medal that his son had won in a competition as a high school senior. The team also located a ceramic Madonna statue that Zink and his wife had bought on their honeymoon.

“Little things like that mean nothing to anybody but us but they mean everything to us,” Zink said. “These [are] little victories that we wouldn’t have without these guys. We would just say, ‘Okay, bring the demolition crew in, we’re done’ But yet we can find things. It’s sort of an archeological dig into our historical past. It’s a strange emotion that way.”

He added that the team provided emotional support by being sensitive to his family’s needs.

7-3-13-Colorado-fire-1366US-A-024“We think, ‘We’re trying to find this silly little thing and we don’t know if it exists or not’ and they treat our requests with the utmost respect,” Zink said. “It’s as if they are carrying their burden with us. They understand it’s not their property but they understand the pain that we are going through. … To know that somebody’s there is a huge support.

“You never want to be part of this. You never want to be the victim, but if we have to be, then we know that there are lots of people in the community like Samaritan’s Purse that are willing to help, and that’s a beautiful thing.”

U.S. Disaster Relief Samaritan's Purse mobilizes and equips thousands of disaster relief volunteers to provide emergency aid to U.S. victims of wildfires, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters. In the aftermath of major storms, we often stay behind to rebuild houses for people with nowhere else to turn for help.

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