Christian Chronicle Religion News Service

At 87, ‘disaster deacon’ opens his heart — and church — to flooding victims

Widower’s work with Red Cross emergency shelter is ‘an inspiration to many.’

By Bobby Ross Jr. | The Christian Chronicle

TULSA, Okla. — Oh, Kenneth Hearrell has stories to tell.

About how he rode a horse five miles to his two-room schoolhouse from first through fourth grades.

About how he used a homemade rowboat to drive cattle to dry land after a big rain swamped the Texas side of the Red River.

About how his Morse code skills got him sent to Germany, while the rest of his U.S. Army artillery platoon was dispatched to Korea during the war.

“So the code saved my life,” the retired air traffic controller said.

But ask the 87-year-old Hearrell about his role as the “disaster deacon” for the Crosstown Church of Christ — a 300-member congregation serving as a shelter for victims of historic flooding along the Arkansas River — and he has less to say.

It’s as if he can’t understand why anyone would need to ask why he feels compelled to help.

“I do it because I can,” said Hearrell, sporting a red-and-white American Red Cross volunteer vest over his button-down Sunday shirt, “and because they need me here because I know where everything is. I’ve got a key to every part of the building.”

Read the full story.

RELATED: Churches cleaning up, distributing food, supplies (reporting from Sand Springs, Okla.)

RELATED: Amid flooding fears, Arkansas church prepared to offer shelter to evacuees

This story appears in the July edition of The Christian Chronicle. It was picked up by Religion News Service and distributed on its national wire.

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