Chaplains Help NC Locals Process Grief Following Flash Flood

By   •   November 16, 2020

Rescuers in knee-deep water with raft outside apartments
Firefighters with the Winston-Salem Fire Department arrive at Creekwood Apartments to assist with evacuations due to flooding on November 12 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. (Source: Andrew Dye/The Winston-Salem Journal via AP)

The Billy Graham Rapid Response Team (RRT) is offering emotional and spiritual care in Alexander County, North Carolina, where flooding inundated a residential campground and claimed six people’s lives on November 12.

About 50 miles north of Charlotte, dozens were rescued—and others went missing—at the Hiddenite Family Campground when floodwaters quickly rose around the South Yadkin River. Some were trapped in their vehicles or clinging to their campers at the time of rescue.

“With an event like this that is so tragic, our hearts, our thoughts and our prayers are with the individuals who lost so much, especially those who lost loved ones as a result of this unexpected flash flooding,” said Josh Holland, RRT’s assistant director. A 1-year-old and teen were among those who died.

“We have crisis-trained chaplains who are committed to walking through this with the community,” Holland continued. “We [are doing all] we can to let the community know that even in the most desperate of circumstances there is a God in heaven who loves them, and that hope and peace can be found through Jesus Christ.”

As the 45th deployment of 2020, crisis-trained chaplains are serving in the flood’s aftermath by offering a listening ear and prayers to those processing the heartbreaking disaster. On Tuesday, one chaplain led a critical incident stress debriefing with 20 first responders, including those on search and rescue teams. Other chaplains attended funerals for those who lost their lives in the flood.

The Rapid Response Team focuses on interacting with residents in man-made and natural disasters—and also being with those on the frontlines who have experienced emotional trauma or have spiritual questions about what they’ve witnessed. Consequently, many of these chaplains have backgrounds as first responders and know what it’s like to have a career of crisis.

>> Are you an officer? Register for the Law Enforcement Appreciation Dinner at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association in Charlotte, North Carolina.

In addition, chaplains are continuing to minister following hurricanes Laura, Delta and Sally in five locations throughout Louisiana and Alabama.

Please keep all those affected by storms in your prayers.