Paducah, KY (December 17, 2021)--When Lieutenants David and Brittney Donegan went to sleep on Friday, December 10, they didn’t know that by morning their ministry to meet human needs in the name of Jesus Christ would be desperately needed. They didn't know that a catastrophic tornado would sweep through four states and destroy almost everything in its path. They didn't know they would be woken up late that night by a frantic phone call from one of their church members.
They just didn’t know.
But when they learned about the tornadoes, they knew what they had to do. They had to help.
“The Salvation Army’s ministry is a ministry of presence,” said Lieutenant David Donegan, commanding officer of The Salvation Army in Paducah, Kentucky. “We are here and we are ready to help our community any way we can.” After the Donegans received the call from their church member their day began.
They immediately sprang into action to be there to comfort and pray with their church members as they received the devastating news about loved ones. “It is tough because you see the hurt in the eyes of the people you see day in and day out – the people you care about. But you know the love of Jesus Christ provides hope and, in that moment, in that place, you are the hands and feet of Jesus,” said Donegan.
Their day continued early Saturday morning when they got word that people who fled their homes needed clothing – so many arrived with only the clothes on their backs. Armed with a Bible and a stack of clothing vouchers they made their rounds to the local churches that were providing temporary shelter. They wrote clothing vouchers all day Saturday and into Sunday.
“People left their homes in the middle of the night wearing their pajamas. The best way we could provide hope at that moment was to meet their immediate need – clothing, coats, shoes. We opened our Family Store and began giving clothes away and we haven’t stopped,” explained Donegan.
Their service did not stop there. Currently, they are working with community partners to determine the needs of the community as the shock from the tornadoes wears off and people will have to figure out a new plan. “They're trying to figure out their next steps. They're asking what do I do now? And The Salvation Army is here to point them in the right direction. This is why we were called into ministry to be Salvation Army officers - to help people whenever we can, wherever we can, and however we can.“
You can work alongside The Salvation Army to help people impacted by the Western Kentucky tornadoes through your support. Donate online at www.HelpSalvationArmy.org or by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY and designating “KY Tornado Relief” with your gift. Monetary donations will ensure The Salvation Army can meet the immediate needs of people impacted. The Salvation Army uses 100% of all disaster donations to support disaster relief.