I’m on my way to Washington, DC, today, to participate in the retirement ceremony of Lorna Lagarde, Chief Pharmacist for the Pentagon, who became a true hero on 9/11 by dispensing needed supplies and medication for 36 hours straight after a jet airplane crashed into the building. As her pastor, I called her home more than once during those hours trying to make sure she had survived the attack but all I got was her answering machine.
I didn’t know she was busy saving lives.
So, I’m going to DC to honor Lorna. I won’t be around to help bring the KOH2RVA today. But I am increasingly thankful for the heroes who carry on that work even when I’m away.
For example: as I was working through the hundreds of emails that collected in my inbox while I was away at Preacher Camp last week I found this one from Minister of Christian Compassion Steve Blanchard, who was writing to report on some of the projects he’s been working with. It was written on Tuesday, August 13 (which must have been a scorcher). Here’s what Steve said:
Even in the midst of a hot summer day, the people of First Baptist Church are bringing the Kingdom of Heaven to Richmond. Let me share a couple of endeavors I can speak to, though I am sure there are more I am unaware of.
The Seeds of Promise tutoring program being held at Essex Village, ended its summer session August 1. We had about 10 volunteers who gave their time at least one day a week to participate in this ministry. On July 23 after a successful field trip to the VA Museum of Fine Arts the week before, we decided to take the kids on another educational endeavor. At 9:00 am, Lee Byerly and I, along with Seeds of Promise founders, Walter and Ernestine Roy, saddled up 10 excited children and went on a historical tour of Richmond. We began on Monument Ave. learning about all the monuments, saw the Maggie Walker House, John Marshall House, St. John’s church, the Capitol building and grounds, Richmond battlefield, old City Hall, and even went atop the observation deck where most kids experienced their first time on an elevator. We concluded the day by treating the kids to lunch at McDonalds. Along the way, they took pages of notes so they could remember what they saw.
The following week, the same group, along with Nicole Zingaro, returned to take the kids on a nature adventure at Three Lakes Park where they physically experienced many of the things they had been learning about in the classroom. We concluded that day with an ice cream trip to Chick-Fil-A as a reward for completing their reading program. We look forward to participating in the Seeds of Promise fall program which begins in October.
Finally, we celebrated National Night Out with the Essex community on August 6. First Baptist Church provided a moonwalk for the kids, games, and several volunteers. Thanks to Candi Brown, Phil Mitchell, Erin Thomas, Millie Barnes, and Debbie Boykin for helping minister to the residents of Essex. We partnered not only with Essex Village but with the Henrico Co. Police and Fire Departments to provide a fun-filled night to around 150 children and adults. We saw a lot of laughter, helped settle some disputes, received a lot of hugs, and brought the Kingdom of Heaven a little closer to Essex Village.
And finally, today, several of the staff gathered to fill approximately 125 backpacks with supplies for children connected to Fresh Start for Single Women, Essex Village, Glen Lea Elementary, and our refugees.
All this to say, praise God for the opportunity to serve and thank all of you for your ongoing support.
Steve’s email was sent to more than a hundred people who have been either interested or involved in the initiatives described above. These people may not be heroes of the 9/11 attack on America, but they are some of the true heroes of KOH2RVA. And today…
I salute them.