First responders: Chapel sent its Calvary

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The HooK: COVER- First responders: Chapel sent its Calvary



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COVER- First responders: Chapel sent its Calvary



Published November 10, 2005 in issue 0445 of The Hook


By COURTENEY STUART STUART@READTHEHOOK.COM

After Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast on August 29, it took FEMA and other government agencies nearly a week to respond in force. But Chad Myhre, pastor of Charlottesville's Calvary Chapel and organizer of the "Go Ye Project," was on the scene just three days after the storm hit.

"We were planning a trip before it even came on shore," he explains. On the first trip, to Ocean Springs, Mississippi, Myhre– who was profiled in the September 8 issue of the Hook– along with assistant pastor David Hanson and several other Calvary volunteers, delivered fresh water and tarps. Less than two weeks later, nearly 40 Calvary volunteers were in Pascagoula, Mississippi with two tractor trailers and three box trucks "packed to the gills" with supplies including diapers, baby formula, first aid, water, ice, and cleaning supplies.

Those supplies were distributed in just one day, says Myhre, who made a third trip to the Gulf at the end of October to do construction on flood ravaged homes.

"So many people didn't have flood insurance," he says.

After identifying salvageable homes, Calvary teams cut out damaged drywall and insulation, and treated cabinets for mold. They then helped struggling homeowners, many of them living in tents, seek the necessary inspections to enable them to move back into their houses.

While Myhre worked for years as a missionary in Third World countries and took Bibles with him to the Gulf, he says spreading the Gospel has not been the intent of his recent efforts.

"Everything we've done has been physical aid," he says. The Calvary effort is not limited to members of his congregation, either. Calvary's former landlord, Oliver Kuttner, a developer who made his own trips to the Gulf to deliver supplies and bring back refugees, donated a bus and a driver for Calvary's third trip.

Right now, Myhre, a father of seven, says he has no further trips planned. But he's continuing to raise funds in Charlottesville. His congregation recently donated $25,000 to help a Biloxi group purchase construction materials, and Myhre hopes to continue providing aid to a region that will need years to recover.

"Going down there to Mississippi is like a Third World exposure in our own country," says Myhre. "It's a good thing to be able to help people. It's what we're supposed to do."


Chad Myhre
FILE PHOTO BY JEN FARIELLO

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