A Surprising Memorial Day

May 28, 2013 • United States

A Samaritan’s Purse volunteer helps his former Air Force sergeant while serving tornado victims in Oklahoma

By Nikki Miller, Samaritan’s Purse writer

While many people spent their Memorial Day enjoying the day off with a cookout or relaxing with family and friends, Joe Wasser spent the holiday in an unexpected way. For the Samaritan’s Purse volunteer, this Memorial Day was one to remember.

While helping clean up debris and sifting rubble for personal items at a tornado victim’s house in Moore, Oklahoma, Joe noticed that the homeowner was wearing an Air Force hat. He also served in that branch, so he struck up a conversation.

But their similarities didn’t end there. Turns out they were actually on the same base, at the same time, on the same squad. The homeowner wasn’t a stranger, but actually Joe’s former sergeant from the 1960s -1970s.

The sergeant said he was not a religious man. But because of the camaraderie with his volunteer friend, a door had been opened. While Joe wasn’t able to lead his former sergeant to faith in Christ in that moment, he was able to represent Jesus and connect him with chaplains from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association who will be able to follow up.

“I was just there to sow seeds and share the love of Christ,” Joe said.

What made this Memorial Day even sweeter was when the team of Samaritan’s Purse volunteers recovered the garment bag with the sergeant’s dress blues in them. Upon receiving the uniform again, the man nearly broke down.

His military memorabilia meant a lot to him, and he had planned to be buried in his dress blues. The fact that strangers had taken the time to recover it for him definitely made an impact.

Originally, Joe was supposed to work on a different house, but plans changed. Without a doubt, he knows that this meeting with his former sergeant was definitely God ordained.

“I’ve been blessed,” Joe said. “Got here Saturday and have been blessed ever since. “