Former Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen, joined volunteers with the Evangelical Christian aid organization Samaritan’s Purse to help cleanup efforts in Kentucky following a recent line of deadly tornadoes.
On Saturday, the Pences volunteered in Mayfield, Kentucky, working alongside dozens of volunteers in the town that became a focal point for national media coverage after the collapse of the Mayfield Consumer Products candle factory trapped dozens and killed at least eight.
Also joining the volunteers for the cleanup on Saturday was Edward Graham, son of the Samaritan’s Purse’s President Franklin Graham and grandson of the late evangelist Billy Graham.
According to a statement released by Samaritan’s Purse, the Pences encouraged and prayed with residents affected by the tornadoes. He also encouraged those volunteering amid the Christmas season to help those in need.
“We just wanted to come down and say thanks for putting hands and feet to your faith,” Pence told volunteers. “The fact that you’re taking time at this time of year is even more meaningful. Seeing you here is testament to the Lord Jesus Christ.”
In a video, Pence said that the devastation in Mayfield is “heartbreaking.”
“But to see Samaritan’s Purse on the scene coming literally all across this country to volunteer, helping to clear the damage, helping put their lives back together and doing it all in Jesus name, I know its been an encouragement to these homeowners that we’ve spoken to,” the former Indiana governor said. “People in this community need healing, and the Bible tells us that if His people who are called by His name will humble themselves and pray, He’ll heal our land and He’ll heal this community.”
Volunteers with Samaritan’s Purse, who worked on the property of former Police Chief Dale Murphy, gave him a copy of the Holy Bible that they and the Pences signed.
“What an encouragement this was to residents who have been through so much and to those volunteering,” Graham stated in a Facebook post. “Thank you to the Pences for showing the love of Jesus Christ in the aftermath of this deadly storm.”
The six states impacted by the tornadoes are Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, Mississippi and Tennessee. Kentucky reportedly had one tornado that stayed on the ground for over 200 miles.
With help from local churches, Samaritan’s Purse has established tornado relief operations in Mayfield, Bowling Green, Kentucky, and northeast Arkansas. Volunteers in those locations are cutting and removing broken trees, removing wet drywall and carpeting, tarping roofs, salvaging belongings and locating missing items from destroyed homes.
“We want to show these folks that are down in the ditch the love of Jesus Christ. And we know there’s a need, and we are able to help these folks right where they are, in Jesus’ name,” Todd Taylor, Samaritan’s Purse U.S. disaster relief program manager, told The Christian Post last week. “Once yards have been cleaned and raked up, even if the house has been destroyed, it gives the homeowners hope and a place to start. And that’s when we can start sharing the Gospel.”
In Illinois, the fierce weather system led to the collapse of an Amazon warehouse in Edwardsville, resulting in six deaths, prompting an investigation into the warehouse’s collapse.
A letter sent Monday by progressive Democrat lawmakers to Amazon CEO Andy Jassy and founder Jeff Bezos argued that the tragedy could have been avoided had the company followed proper safety procedures.
“As we work to ensure that tragedies such as this one are not repeated, we seek answers about what happened at your Edwardsville warehouse,” stated the letter, “and whether your policies may have contributed to this tragedy.”