Charley was predicted to run right through our part of the country. A few of hunkered down and just
before the storm was to hit us, it turned inland and went south and east of us. We were spared, but others
around us weren't as blessed.
A family that attended our church at the time lived near Arcadia, one of the areas that was hit by Charley.
We attempted to contact them, but could not get through.
We borrowed a delivery truck from my job and one from another CC attendee, Jim, Nick and I headed to
Arcadia. It was quite a mess. We passed several destroyed structures and noticed that most of the power
lines and poles were lying in the road.
When we passed a small Mennonite church, I quickly radioed Jim and said I thought the Lord wanted us to
turn around to see what was going on there. They had already set up a distribution center and were
sending out work teams for immediate needs. We unloaded all of our supplies and were asked to go out and
cut down some trees. We really wanted to get to our friends from our church, the Tuttles, but had no idea
where they lived or how to get hold of them, so we took the work order and headed out.
We came to a home with a large tree lying on a garage. The elderly lady who lived there could not get her
car out until we removed the tree. We set to work and cleared it out for her. While working, we noticed
what appeared to be a mobile home that was totally destroyed, sitting off in the distance. It was getting
dark and curfew was coming soon so we headed home.
We finally got hold of the Tuttles and they were fine, but their home had been destroyed. They were
staying at his parent's home. We made a couple more trips out with supplies and work teams. The next
weekend we set up for a group from our church to go to the Tuttles to help clean up some of the mess.
We arrived at their parent's home and discovered that the mobile home we had seen on our first visit
belonged to the Tuttle's and the property where we had removed the tree from the garage was actually on
the same property! We had set out to find the Tuttles and ended up working on the same property!
We helped clean up their property, cleared a large storage building that had been destroyed, and repaired
fences to help keep the cows in!
This was our first exposure to disaster relief work. I was still working a full time job and had no idea what
God was beginning to do in our lives.
A couple of years later we were contacted to go to Arcadia and help rebuild a home that was destroyed by
Charley. We did some cleaning, some electrical wiring, hung some lighting fixtures, trimmed some doors and
a few other things for a family that had been struggling to get back into their home.