An Experience of a Lifetime

What a joy to be back home! My time in TX on the Emergency Response Team at ALERT was full of challenges (like the Caleb Nelson Memorial Race), but also tons of fun.  It taught me responsiveness to people’s needs and skills to help in times of disaster. Through the two months I learned both wild land firefighting and structure firefighting, high angle rescue, rescue systems 1, sawyers, and many other spiritual and mental lessons.

One of the highlights for me was going on deployment to Oklahoma City were the tornado hit. It was a blessing to be able to go in and encourage people who had lost almost everything, by cleaning up their homes or property and singing to them.

The last three weeks God worked it out for me to take the aviation course. The feeling of taking off and you actually being the one in control, was a thrilling experience. It was such a new three dimensional feeling, and took so much eye hand coordination.

Learning these skills in a Christian atmosphere with great friendly people was a wonderful experience worth the time and money for me.

Enjoy the following pictures. Young men seriously consider going through ALERT. You will never be the same.

Learning the mechanics of a chainsaw.Getting experience using chainsaws.

IMG_0008Cutting boards to build the shoring structures. Shoring to keep a floor from calapsing.

My project at the Nashville Deployment.After a day of hard work.

My roommate and I getting ready for the race.The starting line

A nice cool morning swimStarting the eight mile run

First arriving at tornado sightThis family had moved in three weeks agoFiguring what to do with a bathtub.

This is how the tornado left the houseTelephone wire couldn't stand the 200+ windsA very sad sight

The best way to take care of the debrisThree houses use to set here. The tractor helped get the big stuff out

Many cars ended up like this.All that was left of a nice three story homeWe completely demolish this trailer

Having fun on the towerLearning to ascend instead of descendLearning to ascend instead of descend

practicing putting out wood firesCutting out a fire linePutting out a liquid fire

Clearing a small piece of land with fireWe had problems with this one snare that was on fire

Setting up 2,000 chairs for the Big Sandy ATI ConferenceI was finally in the opening ceremony!

Helping the cadets at the towerHad a great time with Robert and Kendalyn and Sauntina at the PendergastA helicopter flew in for the cadets

The cockpit of the airplane we practiced inThe Cessna 172  84309 that I flew!


  1. Robert June 4, 2013 at 9:47 pm #

    Great pictures, Jonathan! Wow, what an adventure. It was really neat to see how you guys were able to help out after the tornado Oklahoma City.

  2. Michael June 5, 2013 at 7:51 am #

    “…responsiveness to people’s needs…
    “You will never be the same.”
    I’ve seen you being more responsive to people’s needs already here at home, Jonathan. It is great to have you back!

  3. Esther June 5, 2013 at 9:42 am #

    Wow, Jonathan! What a great message and what great pictures! I loved the before and after shots of your project,OKC shots, perfectly lined up chairs and the climax airplane pictures! But my absolute favorite is you in the opening ceremony! I can hardly believe you did all that! Praise the Lord. May all that learning help many, many people. 🙂

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