Ky. Baptist Disaster Relief worker carves out lasting memory


ALEXANDRIA, La. (KT) – Kentucky Disaster Relief workers always leave a lasting impression.

Sometimes it has their own stamp on it.

Jeff Free, one of the chainsaw team members, left the artwork of a wooden cross carved into a stump for one of the residents who was a benefactor of their work last week. They wanted to make it a surprise but the woman watched out her back window sobbing as Free carved out the masterpiece in about an hour.

Chris Cropp, a Blue Hat on the chainsaw team with Free, asked his buddy if he could do it.

“It’s not exactly straight but the tree that Christ was crucified on wasn’t straight either,” Cropp said. “Jeff had carved crosses on stumps before and since he was with me I thought that would be a good thing.”

The chainsaw team has been in Louisiana helping numerous residents there for the past week, cutting limbs off roofs and cleaning up property where Hurricane Laura swept through about 10 days ago.

When Kentucky Disaster Relief shows up, they bring the expertise for cleanup both physically and spiritually with them.

“She was very distraught when we got there,” Cropp said. “I had the ladies loving on her and spending time with her. She broke down and shared with the women a couple of other times. One of the women had the same situation she did with a daughter.”

When Cropp asked Free if he could carve the cross into the oak stump, the plan was to surprise her with the new backyard artwork.

“We wanted to surprise her but she was watching out the window,” he said. “It blessed her to no end. She broke down and cried.”

Limbs from huge trees had blocked her path to the house but had landed on it, Cropp said. They cleaned them all up, sawing up limbs and hauling them off. As the Disaster Relief women began developing a relationship with her, they asked about her spiritual condition. She wasn’t happy with where she had been going to church and they gave her name and address to a local Baptist pastor.

Cropp said he has carved a couple of crosses into stumps in the past but it wasn’t something they did every trip. They did it only when it seemed right.

“This was one of the special cases,” he said. “A whole lot depends on the situation. I saw the stump and thought it would be good to do it. Jeff did a great job on it.”

Cropp said Free’s wife, Sandy, said it best: “It’s a God thing that put us here.”

The chainsaw crew will be working on a home Monday before heading back to Kentucky on Tuesday.

It has been a good week, with a memento to remember.


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