Sheppard Chapel provides disaster relief aid for the first time

  • Published
  • By Kimberly Goff
  • 82nd Training Wing Public Affairs
Remembering what it felt like to experience a natural disaster in New Orleans, a Sheppard chaplain led airmen to lend a hand in Oklahoma.

Capt. Chaplain Shane Moore, 82nd Training Wing, Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, led a team June 8 to Moore, Okla., to lend a helping hand to victims of an EF-5 (Enhanced Fujita Scale) tornado that ripped through neighborhoods May 20.

This is the first disaster relief effort the Sheppard Chapel has volunteered for. While a seminary student at Baptist Theological Seminary, Hurricane Katrina laid waste to New Orleans, and the Chaplain remembers it well.

"I saw Samaritan's Purse and Southern Baptist Church do so much there," Moore said. "Southern Baptist had chainsaw units cutting through the debris and were feeding people," He said. "Samaritans Purse was also helping clean up the debris," Moore said.

This was not Moore's first time volunteering as he has helped with disaster relief efforts during Hurricane Hugo, Hurricane Katrina and several floods.

During Hurricane Hugo, Moore was actually living in South Caroline when the hurricane hit, and he helped cut wood from the roads while suffering long days without electricity.

During Hurricane Katrina, Moore's church became the distributor of food to people in the area.

So when he was watching the destruction caused by the tornado on the television, members of the chapel servant leadership program got the idea to help out those affected, Moore jumped on board with the plan.

"The proximity was close, enough people were willing, and it's great to help out" Moore said. "When people are hurting, we're hurting, there no reason we shouldn't help out," he said.

Moore contacted Samaritan's Purse, a nondenominational evangelical Christian organization that provides spiritual and physical aid to those who have become victims of natural disasters, war, poverty, disease and famine in countries all around the world in the name of Jesus Christ since 1970.

More than seventy Airmen volunteers signed up to help

When the volunteers arrived, they encountered a disaster zone. Houses were torn down to the foundation, debris and stone scattered among the remnants of what used to be an average American neighborhood.

Airman 1st Class Wendy Ozburn, 361st Training Squadron and one of the volunteers, said she has become more appreciative of her family and friends after witnessing the destruction and helping clean the rubble still housing the memories of the ones who used to live there.

"Seeing the small things in the rubble, there are memories here," Ozburn said. "It doesn't seem that bad when you're looking down at a small area," she said. "When you stop and look out, the totality of it is overwhelming," Ozburn said.

Ozburn felt great about helping with the effort, which to her meant she can do something good.

"Christ said that when you're going through the valley, he would be there with you and you could do things through him," Ozburn said. "You pray that God puts the right people in your life to help you."

140 hands were present to help clear the debris of the ravaged houses of a neighborhood that only made up a fraction of the destruction caused by the tornado. Moore said that due to his faith, providing help to those in need gives him an internal hope, while giving others internal security.

"It's an opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ and to share the love of Christ in someone's hardship," he said.