Members of Samaritan's Purse Disaster Relief teams are in Minot to help people whose homes were affected by the flood. They are here to clean out debris and water-damaged belongings, strip ruined Sheetrock and flooring and disinfect homes all for free. That's their mission as volunteers.
Samaritan's Purse workers didn't come to Minot empty handed. They came to Minot from North Carolina with office space, which is located in a semi-tractor trailer on the north side of the First Assembly of God Church, portable showers and even their own cook. The church is located at 1805-2nd St. SE.
A second semi trailer arrived from Calgary, Alberta. It was filled with tools, boots, masks, gloves and other items the volunteers need to do their work. The team even brought a skidster loader along.
Brent Graybeal, left, and Tommy Belisario stand in front of the semi trailer that serves as Samaritan’s Purse Disaster Relief headquarters at 1805-2nd St. SE on Thursday.
Tommy Belisario, left, hands Brent Graybeal a Billy Graham Training Center Bible. Volunteers give a Bible to each of the homeowners they visit.
The days for these volunteers are organized. Breakfast is at 6:30 a.m. and then there's a time for devotions. Workers depart for their designated work sites by 8 a.m. They return to the church about 4:30 p.m. to shower and be ready for supper at 6 p.m. New volunteers are required to watch a training film before going to a work site.
Many of the volunteers, who come from states all over the nation, are sleeping in the classrooms of the church where "lights out" and quiet time takes effect about 10 p.m. Volunteers from out-of-state come to Minot at their own expense but once they arrive food and shelter is provided, Belisario said.
Connie Hall, of Bailey, Colo., is the volunteer office manager. She and her husband, Ronnie, have been volunteers with Samaritan's Purse Disaster Relief since Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf of Mexico in August 2005. Katrina, which has been designated as the most destructive hurricane ever to strike the United States, crushed the levees and flooded more than 80 percent of New Orleans, resulting in more than $81 billion in property damages.
Need assistance, want to volunteerSamaritan's Purse Disaster Relief and First Assembly of God are working together to provide homeowners with free help to tear out, clean out and disinfect homes. For help, call 838-1111 or 833-9963 or stop by the trailer located at 1805-2nd St. SE, Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
People who want to volunteer may call 833-9963 or show up at the Samaritan's Purse trailer at 7:30 a.m. Monday through Saturday.
No matter where we go or what we do, we offer more than help. We offer hope. To suffering people in a broken world, we share the news of the only One who can bring true peace Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace.
- Samaritan's Purse
Hall said serving as a volunteer has been a rewarding experience. She and her husband, who sets up the teams and coordinates which teams are going where, don't hesitate to respond when they receive a call to help.
"The teams have done a great job as they have been able to minister to some of the homeowners in Minot," Tommy Belisario, program manager with U.S. Disaster Relief in Minot, said. He said a blog on the Samaritan's Purse web site (www.Samaritan'sPurse.org) tells of some ways volunteers have touched the lives of others.
One of the posts makes mention of Ron, one of the team members, who was trying to get through a street that was blocked by debris removal trucks. He recognized a driver who had been with the disaster relief team when they responded to the tornado in Joplin, Mo. The driver made a path for Ron.
"God puts people in our lives to help us as we serve our Lord," Belisario posted on the web site.
Belisario, who was deployed to Minot from organization headquarters in North Carolina, is hoping more people will volunteer to help with the work that has to be done in Minot.
Brent Graybeal, who is new to Samaritan's Purse, is also a program manager with North American Projects for Samaritan's Purse Disaster Relief. He came to Minot from Boone, N.C., to train and learn what to do in a flood situation.
Currently there are about 35 volunteers but still more volunteers are needed to help with the large task ahead.
"Anyone age 14 or over can volunteer. They just need to be ready and able to work," Belisario said. Even if they want to work for only a day, any help will be appreciated, he said. They should have sturdy work boots and gloves. Persons who want to volunteer can call 833-9963 or just show up at the trailer about 7:30 a.m.
Samaritan's Purse, a nondenominational evangelical Christian organization, has been helping hurting people for more than 40 years. Franklin Graham serves as president and CEO of Samaritan's Purse. Volunteers follow the command given in the story of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:30-37. After describing how the Samaritan rescued a hurting man whom others had passed by, Jesus told his hearers, "Go and do likewise."
That is what the volunteers of Samaritan's Purse are doing.
"We've been here two weeks and expect to be here probably for another three to four weeks, according to the needs of the people and the number of volunteers that come out," Belisario said.