Grays Harbor Serves During Storm

November 22, 2016 | Howard Brenton

With the threat of major destruction from hurricane-force windstorms predicted on the Washington and Oregon coasts in October, Tom Davis, the Grays Harbor Church emergency response coordinator, and Mike Watson, the local Adventist Community Service (ACS) director, considered how best to respond. 

Davis met with the Grays Harbor Emergency Response director and kept the Grays Harbor Church in Hoquiam, Wash., apprised of the storm’s progress through email updates. Watson, building on the resources accumulated by former ACS directors Bob and Wilma O’Day and Wanda Dooley, clothing director, decided to dial the response up. Other church members and community people provided some supplies and helped round up and serve needy people.

Watson sought approval of the church to open the fellowship room to some homeless people who could be seriously impacted by the storm. Watson enlisted the help of Jake Wygal. They provided sleeping bags, blankets, clothing, showers and food. Watson took their visitors' wet and dirty clothing and washed it at the church food bank. He ministered to any health needs he could.

One man, who had no socks and had been walking in wet boots, had terrible sores on his feet. Watson provided socks and treatment to promote healing.

To keep the people from getting restless, Watson showed some DVDs. Berta Brenton brought him additional DVDs. Watson and Wygal committed to spending the night with their guests. Wygal had to return to his home due to a family issue, leaving Watson alone to watch over the people.

Since the fellowship room was scheduled for a Narcotics Anonymous gathering Sunday morning, Watson collected everything brought over from the ACS building and cleaned the room.

Even though the storm was not as intense as was predicted, lives were protected and even saved. Some of the folks served were on the edge of existence. The help they received strengthened them and gave them a glimmer of hope and encouragement.

Watson demonstrated to a new paradigm of community service to his church family.