VOLUNTEER MINISTERS RECOGNIZED FOR THEIR UNCONDITIONAL HELP
A ceremony in downtown Clearwater, Florida, honored VMs who provided relief to communities laid waste by hurricanes.
Scientology Volunteer Ministers were honored at a recognition banquet at the Fort Harrison in Clearwater. Fifty volunteers who had contributed some 30,000 volunteer hours over the past three years were acknowledged for their work.
Among the many outreach activities of the Florida VMs was bringing help to those affected by Hurricanes Florence and Michael—two of the worst storms to ever pummel the East Coast.
Hurricane Florence struck North and South Carolina and Virginia, flooding communities with as much as 35 inches of rain in four days—more than 10 trillion gallons of water. “One older couple we helped lived in a home not far from a river,” said a VM who responded to Florence. “They had taken in over eight feet of water and lost absolutely everything. The wife was undergoing treatment for cancer, and the grandmother who lived with them was 87 years old. They were lucky enough to get out before the rising river washed out their road.
“We arrived to help this family, and when we got there, the man was exhausted and apathetic. He was a normally bright and cheery person who rebuilt race cars for a passion and had lived in his home for 30 years. He and his wife had already endured two floods in the last 10 years and had always rebuilt. But now they had no flood insurance and no real way to get help.
“We arrived with over 30 VMs and started to help him with the heartbreaking process of removing a lifetime of destroyed belongings. We ripped out flooring and drywall before life-threatening mold could take hold. When we started, he was apathetic and stuck in the shock of the incident. By the end of the day, he had gradually brightened up and was talking, smiling and joking with us. He kept repeating ‘I can’t believe you are here throughout the whole day.’
“As we were packing up to leave, he told us that when he returned to the house for the first time the night before we arrived, he walked in and felt an enormous feeling of overwhelm. He didn’t know how he would ever get through it alone, and he had no one to turn to for help. He thought there was nothing that could really be done about it. He said he just cried and sat down on his front porch.
“He prayed for help and for a ray of sunshine. The next morning he got a call from his pastor that a group of Scientologists was coming to help him.”
“He decided he was going to pray to God—it was the only thing he knew to do. He prayed for help and for a ray of sunshine. The next morning he got a call from his pastor that a group of Scientologists was coming to help him. When we arrived in force wearing bright yellow shirts, the color of sunshine, all he could think was, ‘Thank you, God. I didn’t realize you would be so specific!’”
At the awards presentation, the director of the Volunteer Ministers of Florida said those who responded to the hurricanes exemplify the character of the Volunteer Minister, as described by L. Ron Hubbard when he developed the program in the mid-1970s: “A Volunteer Minister does not shut his eyes to the pain, evil and injustice of existence. Rather, he is trained to handle these things and help others achieve relief from them and new personal strength as well.
“How does a Volunteer Minister accomplish these miracles? Basically, he uses the technology of Scientology to change conditions for the better—for himself, his family, his groups, friends, associates and for mankind.”
MAKE HELP POSSIBLE
Volunteer Ministers are on call across the globe and around the clock to respond to any and every disaster. Your contribution will fund volunteer travel as well as food, water, tents and medical supplies for disaster victims.