COVID-19 has impacted our spiritual, familial, and professional lives. This virus does not falter through disastrous weather. It does not halt when flash flooding occurs. Throughout this pandemic, flash floods and damaging storms have created new challenges in addition to the hardships we already face amidst this public health crisis. Causing long-term damage to homes, churches, and communities as a whole, until it happens to us, we often cannot imagine the long and difficult journey to recovery following a disaster.
Lutheran Congregational Services (LCS) and Lutheran Disaster Response—Eastern Pa (LDR-EPa) continue to serve all people as disastrous weather continues to make lasting impacts in counties throughout eastern Pennsylvania. As we stand with the most vulnerable in our communities, we remind families and individuals that as people of faith, even in the most challenging of times, God’s love and provision is always near.
One inspiring story of a long journey to recovery following disaster is that of Pastor Jira Albers of Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in Towanda, Pennsylvania. As an LDR volunteer for many years who has assisted individuals and families in their recoveries following disastrous weather, Pastor Albers was grateful when LCS and LDR returned their generosity to assist him.
The Aftermath and Damage of Severe Weather & Flash Flooding
After a series of flash floods hit Bradford County in August of 2018, Pastor Albers’ home experienced immense water damage. “There was over three feet of water in the lower level of his home,” says Linda Frey, case manager for LCS and LDR. Unable to use the lower level of his house, Pastor Albers was in great need of assistance.
Upon assessing the damage, LDR Construction Coordinator, Dennis Steffy, discovered that flooding would continue to happen to Pastor Albers’ home unless repairs took place. In need of help for funding these repairs, LCS proactively sought assistance for Pastor Albers to recover after disaster.
Helping Neighbors in Need
Thanks to the Northeastern Pennsylvania Synod (NEPA) and LCS, Pastor Albers was able to afford the necessary repairs to his home. “I called Pastor Albers to share the news with him that we would be able to repair his home and the joy, surprise, and sincere gratitude in his voice was just wonderful to hear,” Linda reflects. “That’s what I enjoy most about my job is seeing people recover from a disaster that was no fault of their own, and being able to return to normal,” she affirms.
Indeed Pastor Albers was incredibly grateful for the assistance given to him by the Northeastern Pennsylvania Synod and LCS.
I am so deeply appreciative of the assistance LCS, LDR, and NEPA provided in the recovery of our home. We were incredibly thankful to hear that LCS could help us. The generosity and love shown has continually refreshed our souls.Pastor Albers of Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in Towanda, PA
Because of Donors like You…
Because of donors like you, homes can be repaired, and individuals can return to their everyday lives. It is equally important to understand that the journey to recovery is long-term, and restoration and repair work to Pastor Albers’ home is still happening today. As storms, flash floods, and hurricanes like Isaias continue to impact our region, long-term recovery work will be ongoing for years to come.
In a normal situation, disaster response is already complicated, and amidst this pandemic, we’re experiencing even greater challenges. In order to keep communities safe, there are extra precautions LCS must take when responding to disaster and assisting individuals and families with long-term recovery.
We must utilize local volunteers, which requires additional training and guidance for local teams. Sanitation stations are another common requirement in addition to extra personal protective equipment (PPE) for volunteers. Your gift to Lutheran Congregational Services provides funding for the extra precautions we must take in responding to disaster in the time of COVID-19.