Chester County volunteers say they are honored to help Kentucky tornado victims – Daily Local


NEW GARDEN – On New Years Eve, residents of southeastern Pennsylvania spent the last week volunteering in Kentucky, where communities continue to rebuild in the wake of a catastrophic tornado that has killed nearly 100 people.

Historic tornado EF4 hit Kentucky 14 days before Christmas.

“It has been an honor to work alongside such a committed group of men and women from Chester County, while serving with Samaritan’s Purse,” said Gordon Eck of West Brandywine Township.

“The stories we heard were heartbreaking and the opportunity to briefly enter into the grief of those who suffered loss and hurt with them was a lesson in humility,” Eck said. “Hearing the testimonies of so many who have lost everything, one truth has been expressed over and over again: In the midst of life’s storms, Jesus is the immovable rock on which we can safely hang on. “

Chester County volunteers hold a logistics meeting while working to clear debris from a house torn apart by a deadly tornado in December in Benton, Ky. On Wednesday. (JEN SAMUEL – MEDIANEWS GROUP)

The nine Chester County volunteers are all members of regional churches, including New Windsor Baptist Church near Eagle in Chester Springs, St. Stephen’s Reformed Church in New Holland, Calvary Chester Springs Chapel in Exton and the ‘East Brandywine Baptist Church in Downingtown.

“It has been an honor to show the love and compassion of God in serving the people of Kentucky,” said Ryan McLaughlin of West Brandywine, where he was elected township supervisor in November. He begins his term in January.

“When they need it most, I pray that we can bring them hope,” McLaughlin said on Friday. “Helping others alongside my family, friends, and people across the country in Jesus’ name has been a life changing experience. “

McLaughlin shares 11 children with his wife, Jen. He drove his family’s passenger van over 850 miles on Boxing Day to bring volunteers from Chester County to the southwestern edge of Kentucky, to serve in communities hardest hit by the deadly tornado, that struck the Bible Beltway of America on December 10. .

His eldest son, Jake McLaughlin, 15, a sophomore student, accompanied his father on the journey to volunteer to serve others.

On Wednesday, a business sank in downtown Mayfield, Ky. (JEN SAMUEL – MEDIANEWS GROUP)

“Our faith is the driving force behind everything we do,” said Brigid Gallagher of West Chester.

“Jesus calls us to serve others,” she said on Monday.

And from Mayfield to Benton, Chesco’s nine volunteers worked on nine individual properties where homes had been badly damaged or outright destroyed by the historic storm, which swept through four states from around 9 p.m. on December 10.

On Tuesday, residents of Chester County met with residents of Georgia and Florida cooking free meals for others helping with recovery and disaster relief in the small western Kentucky community of Mayfield.

“This is what mom wanted to do for Christmas,” said Maurice Harris of Valdosta, Ga. He prepared lunch on the grill outside a family food truck, where his parents also prepared meals for the volunteers.

Her mother is Roberta Carmickle. She makes an average of 300 sandwiches a day for people. All food is free. Some people make donations to the family to support their efforts.

“God provides,” she said. “God provides. I am so grateful. “

Carmickle will be 75 in January. She said the family plan to continue cooking free meals for Mayfield volunteers until the end of next month.

Several people in Southeastern Pennsylvania made donations to support the Nine Volunteer Service Trip from Chester County, Kentucky.

“Our hearts are with those who lost so much in this tragic and devastating event,” said Debbie Abel of Malvern. She donated the cost of the Airbnb to Benton.

Left to right, West Brandywine residents Asa Lane, 16, and Jake McLaughlin, 15, spent Wednesday volunteering in Mayfield, where they received free food from the Carmickle family to support their service (JEN SAMUEL – MEDIANEWS GROUP)

“We feel very lucky to be able to help in a small way and humbled by the generous hearts of everyone who gave their time to help,” said Abel.
East Brandywine Baptist Church, the church where five of the volunteers attend in Downingtown, donates to Samaritan’s Purse to support the work of international disaster relief organizations in Kentucky.

Others who donated money for gas and food in support of the trip have asked to remain anonymous.

In the words of a Chester County woman who made an anonymous donation, she said, “It is important to us that God receives the glory.

The Chester County Republican Committee also donated to Samaritan’s Purse.

To donate in support of the volunteers contributing to the recovery efforts of Kentucky residents, visit:

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