Christian Chronicle

18 wheels and a heart to serve

After Hurricane Michael, a retired Christian steers a big rig full of food and emergency supplies to hard-hit Florida.

By Bobby Ross Jr. | The Christian Chronicle

PANAMA CITY, Fla. — In the dark, John Kincaid could see hints of the devastation in this seaside city.

The downed tree limbs in every direction. The roofs ripped off homes and businesses. The flattened pavilion beside the Jenks Avenue Church of Christ’s family activity center.

But in the pitch-black wee hours — with the power still out in this Florida Panhandle community — the headlights on Kincaid’s tractor-trailer rig flashed only brief, sketchy glimpses of Hurricane Michael’s vast impact.

After a 466-mile trip from Nashville, Tenn., to deliver emergency food boxes and supplies from Churches of Christ Disaster Relief Effort Inc., the volunteer driver approached the Jenks Avenue church just before 2:45 a.m.

The engine grunted as Kincaid, 76, tapped the brakes and slowed almost to a complete stop. The retired police officer squinted as he scanned the disaster zone for the church’s driveway.

Finally spotting it, he shifted into reverse and backed up a bit. He twisted the steering wheel, pulled into the parking lot and nudged into a space beside the worship center, where days earlier the Category 4 storm — with sustained winds of 155 mph — had poked a hole in the roof above the baptistery.

Kincaid recorded the semi-truck’s odometer reading at his destination — 201,035 — before cutting the lights. After a quick pit stop under the stars, he left the rig’s air-conditioner running and climbed into the back of the cab.

There, on a twin mattress, he’d catch a few hours of sleep before sunrise and the arrival of church volunteers to unload the 53-foot-long trailer.

Read the full story.

This story, originally published online, appears in the December print edition of The Christian Chronicle.

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