Lake Charles, LA (September 12, 2020)—As The Salvation Army continues to serve Hurricane Laura ravaged Lake Charles, the significance of yesterday's date, 9/11, was remembered. In the daily morning canteen meeting, there was recognition of former military and first-responders who are currently serving on canteen crews, and a moment of silence was observed in remembrance of the events of that terrible day 19 years ago.
The day was especially meaningful for one Salvation Army volunteer, retired Army Major Ell White, who is currently serving on a Salvation Army canteen crew providing Hurricane Laura relief in the form of hot meals served daily in DeQuincy, Louisiana. “This day, being the 19th anniversary of 9/11, that shook up a lot of families in the military because that started a continuing trend of training, deploying, training, deploying, and during that time we lost a lot of good men and women. So, coming here and serving with The Salvation Army, helping individuals that are in a vulnerable situation, was a no-brainer,” said White, who makes it a point to wear his fatigues when he serves, even through the oppressive heat.
White says that God told him to get involved with The Salvation Army, and specifically with Lt. Bryan Farrington, who is the corps officer of The Salvation Army Montgomery, Alabama Corps, and is currently serving as Operations Chief for The Salvation Army's Hurricane Laura relief efforts in Lake Charles. “I told him the vision God gave me about working with disaster and working disaster areas, how I worked with human trafficking victims and my military background. I told him I have a whole wealth of experience and knowledge and a skill set that I'll be willing to share by volunteering my services,” said White. “Ever since then, we have been the best of friends. Doing things in the community like feeding the homeless in Montgomery and doing various projects together,” he continued.
White says the purpose of his service here is to glorify God. “Some people have come through here and been a little depressed, but when they leave, you give them a different spin and give them a little hope," said White. “Yesterday was a powerful day because a couple of families came and asked me to pray for them. Even though I'm dressed like a soldier and I look like a soldier, minus the beard and locks, of course, and that was a wonderful thing. Just to know that although I look like a soldier they knew I was a man of God,” he continued.
Ell White wants people in the rest of the country to be aware of the depth of pain and suffering that people are dealing with in the wake of Hurricane Laura, and that The Salvation Army is here to help ease that pain. “I was talking to one lady yesterday and she lost her husband to COVID-19 right as Hurricane Laura was happening. To lose your husband and then go through Hurricane Laura,” White said. “Then, I talked to another family, and they lost their father right as Hurricane Laura hit. It's like they almost want to give up. And I'm telling them, no, don't give up. God's going to pull you through this, because if He saw you through the storm, He's going to see you through this storm, too. But don't you give up,” he continued.
As natural disasters can increase mental stress, The Salvation Army’s Emotional & Spiritual Care HOPEline remains available. Anyone needing a caring listener – whether because of natural disaster, COVID-19, or the stress of life in general – can call 844-458-HOPE (4673) for support. HOPEline hours are 8 AM to 11 PM CDT, 7 days a week.
The best way to support the disaster work of The Salvation Army is by making a financial donation at www.helpsalvationarmy.org or by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY. For the latest emergency disaster services news from The Salvation Army, please go to www.disaster.salvationarmyusa.org and watch for regular updates on our social media pages at www.facebook.com/LakeCharlesCorps, www.facebook.com/salarmyalm/ and www.twitter.com/salarmyalm.
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