Good Shepherd Episcopal hopes disaster missions set solid example for students
Just hours into the drive to Mayfield, Kentucky, a disaster relief team of Dallas’ Good Shepherd Episcopal School staffers found themselves benefiting from another’s act of kindness.
Top Hat Trailers of Mount Pleasant, Texas, made emergency trailer light repairs free of charge after learning that Andy Blount, Caitlyn Hawkins, Brent Lampl, and Bennie Williams were responding to violent tornadoes that ripped through several counties in western Kentucky.
“That told me that this trip was meant to be,” Blount said. “They could have easily charged us $500 and had us out the door.”
Unexpected generosity didn’t end there. A stranger at a rest stop handed over $100 with instructions to give it to someone in Kentucky.
If you help one person, you’ve done your job.Andy Blout
Good Shepherd formed its Disaster Relief and Recovery (DRR) program in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in 2012. With the support of the school’s community, it has continued to mobilize near and far, setting an example for students about what it means to serve with compassion.
The December 2021 trip was Blount’s eighth but the first for Hawkins, Lampl, and Williams.
After a 16-hour drive, they station themselves at First Church of the Nazarene, joining a parishioner in prayer before serving meals – close to 3,000 over three days. A letter from students in Emily Mason’s kindness class came with every meal.
“Being able to go out and serve is hard to put into words,” Hawkins said. “They were just so grateful for a hot meal.”
Hawkins and Blount mainly served from the church, while Lampl and Williams drove a few miles daily to deliver food to anyone appearing in need.
“There were many times where we were driving between debris,” Lampl said. “Roofs were gone. Trampolines (were) impaled on trees. Tin roofing (was) wrapped around everything.”
Stuffed animals donated by first-grade teacher Danielle Miller made a difference, too. A baby received one and immediately stopped crying. Two other children, who lost their toys in the storm, brought their new ones to every meal.
Blount told of meeting Tim, a father of four whose family lost everything. Tim accepted a raincoat and needed gas for his car but wouldn’t take money until after hearing the story of the generosity the team encountered during the trip from Texas.
“I told him the story and said, ‘We were at a rest area two days ago, and a guy in a motorcoach stopped us, gave us a $100 bill and said give this to somebody in Kentucky who needs it,” Blount said, telling Tim. “He was talking about you.”
Tim began crying and ultimately accepted the money.
“That’s why you do it,” Blount said. “To help people like Tim. If you help one person, you’ve done your job.”
John Holt is the content writer for Good Shepherd Episcopal School.