Volunteers from around the country descended upon the Oklahoma City area in the weeks following the tornado that destroyed 1,200 homes and killed 24 people on May 20.
Jason Herman, a pastor at The Hills Church of Christ in Fort Worth, Texas, helped lead 130 church members to Oklahoma. They spent a week cleaning up debris and helping wherever it was needed.
But perhaps the most important thing the group did was listen, Herman said. Not many stopped to listen to the stories of survivors, something he believes is necessary for recovering from traumatic situations.
“These people have suffered so much,” he said. “If they can’t vent, their emotions can bottle up and explode.”
Listening can benefit the listener just as much as it benefits the speaker, church volunteer Britt Logan said. Hearing about the bravery and resiliency of tornado victims can be a life-changing experience, he said.
Logan said he met one man whose house was fairly intact but was surrounded by devastation. The man was amazed by the number of people who offered to help him.
“And then he said how blessed he is to even be alive,” he said.
BY KYLE HINCHEY