Oklahoma Tornado Survivors Get Help From 80 Men in Substance Abuse Recovery

One of about 80 men from Salvation Army's Adult Rehabilitation Center who are providing support to survivors of the devastating tornado that ripped through Moore, Okla., May 20, 2013. | (Photo: Salvation Army)

Among those helping to provide critical support to survivors of the devastating tornado that ripped through Moore, Okla., are about 80 men who are in a Salvation Army program working towards substance abuse recovery. Since the day of the tornado, teams from Salvation Army's Adult Rehabilitation Center have collected, sorted and stocked pallets of food, water, and other goods for distribution to emergency responders and residents of the community.

"Serving with the recovery effort gives us a chance to give back," said one program beneficiary. "When we were struggling with addiction ... with alcohol and drugs ... we weren't any good to anyone. Now, we are making a difference and it feels great."

The men in The Salvation Army's Adult Rehabilitation Center have worked tirelessly behind the scenes working to sort and place pallet after pallet of food, bottled water, and other goods for distribution.

Much of the water, food, and supplies provided to survivors of the tornado in Moore, Okla., are being distributed through the help of men in the Salvation Army's Adult Rehabilitation Center program, May 2013. | (Photo: Salvation Army)

Since May 19, following the initial tornado in Shawnee, The Salvation Army has served more than 35,000 meals, and more than 87,000 drinks and snacks, officials said. More than 4,000 people have received emotional and spiritual care from the organization.

Men from the rehabilitation center, led by leaders from centers in Oklahoma and Houston, are part of the successful operation.

"The Salvation Army's Adult Rehabilitation Center is a place of recovery and healing," said Major Steve Justice, administrator of the Oklahoma center. "Our staff and our beneficiaries are proud to help the people of Oklahoma. Our team will continue serving our neighbors until we are no longer needed."

Salvation Army Captain Tim Farrell, who came from Houston with his wife to help takeover a shift from the previous commander in charge, told The Christian Post on Wednesday that many of the men come from incredibly harsh backgrounds of alcoholism and addiction. Since entering the program, they have been given an opportunity to "clean up" and get their lives in order.

"This is a chance for them to give back and they love doing it. We have to bring them in shifts or otherwise they would all be over here," Farrell said. "They are helping get product to people who need it. They are not doing paper work. They are doing the legwork. They are the ones handing people food, running back to get the diapers that somebody needs. They're the ones operating the forklifts, doing the heavy lifting.

"It's remarkable to see," he continued. "Just to see where they come from and the situations that they were in, and then seeing God's work in their lives and watching them come from under the bridge – to see them improve as people as their relationship with Christ improves. They are more the kind of person that God designed them to be. There is nothing like it. It's powerful."

Farrell said that the men from the center will remain for a month or two more. However, The Salvation Army will stay for about a year to help families with additional needs and services as they arise.

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