Chesapeake chaplains headed to help Texas flood victims cope with loss

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — Beth Johanson and Charlie Hackworth are taking their ears to Texas.

The two chaplains for the Chesapeake Fire Department will head to Houston on Sunday to provide emotional and spiritual support for victims of Hurricane Harvey who’s system of support has crumbled.

“You’re talking about losing churches and homes and pets and family members; and, it’s not just you. It’s now you, your neighbor, your street, your city, your county,” said Johanson.

The two chaplains will be traveling with the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team and will be staying at a church two blocks from a disaster shelter serving 9,000 people.

“They have been broken to the basic needs of life. They don’t have anything left,” she said. “I feel God has shown me that I have the compassion and the grace and the ability to come alongside someone and help share the grief with them and help share their load,” she said.

The American Red Cross says more than 40,000 people are in shelters across the Lone Star state and more than 156,000 homes are damaged. The numbers are expected to rise.

Johanson says she is bringing her bible, an open heart and open ears to give hope to the victims and let them know better days are ahead.

“I just know there are a lot of situations that I would not want to be alone in.”

As the water starts to recede, Johanson says people need more than material possessions in the midst of extreme trauma.

“Even if I drop $10,000 in someone’s lap, it’s not going to change their life the way helping them through this crisis emotionally is going to help change their life.”

Johanson will travel to Texas for two weeks and expects to make return trips in the coming months. In order to make it happen, she’s using resources and donations from her nonprofit, Agents of Faith. To learn more and donate to her organization, click here.