Deploying Military Couples to the Frontlines of Disasters

October 22, 2020 • United States
Team Patriot is an opportunity for Operation Heal Our Patriots participants to volunteer after natural disasters.
Team Patriot is an opportunity for Operation Heal Our Patriots participants to volunteer after natural disasters.

2019: Samaritan's Purse starts deploying veterans and their spouses to U.S. Disaster Relief responses as part of our Team Patriot project, a program sending Operation Heal Our Patriots couples to the frontlines of disasters.

Team Patriot clears yard debris in a hard-it community in Spartanburg, South Carolina, in the aftermath of a powerful tornado earlier this year.

Team Patriot clears yard debris in a hard-it community in Spartanburg, South Carolina, in the aftermath of a powerful tornado earlier this year.

At the 2019 Operation Heal Our Patriots Reunion in Dallas, Texas, we invited military couples to join our U.S. Disaster Relief efforts as part of our new Team Patriot project. Since the first Team Patriot teams deployed in August of last year, Samaritan’s Purse has sent more than 100 individuals to serve again on the frontlines–this time the frontlines of disaster.

“We’re dealing with the most capable human beings in the world through Operation Heal Our Patriots,” said Corey Lynch, who works with our North American Ministries team and is helping lead the initiative. “This is a chance to get back to that feeling of brotherhood and to help people in need. This is a startup, but we’re ready to get rolling.”

Army Staff Sergeant Brandon Price, who was among those who joined our first Team Patriot response during a rebuild effort in Texas, said the new opportunity to join on disaster relief responses helped him regain a vision for what his post-military life could be like.

Team Patriot tarps a roof in Cookeville, Tennessee.

Team Patriot tarps a roof in Cookeville, Tennessee.

“I never thought I would be able to do anything like this. I felt sorry for myself, like this was what God had for me—a miserable, angry human being,” said Price, who was wounded during an ambush in Afghanistan with injuries that forced him to leave the Army life he loved. “Team Patriot gives me purpose.”

Edward Graham said he’s excited to see fellow military personnel and their spouses serving in the field. Before joining the leadership of Samaritan’s Purse, Edward served for 16 years in the Army, much of that time as part of a Ranger battalion in Special Operations.

“Team Patriot provides a sense of purpose and community, but, more importantly, it gets them involved in serving through the church,” Edward said. “Imagine how it will impact a homeowner who’s lost everything to see a wounded service member out in their yard helping them get back on their feet. We want these wounded men and women to remember that they are heroes and that God wants to use them.”

Our Team Patriot initiative began in 2019.

Our Team Patriot initiative began in 2019.

Team Patriot teams have deployed to disaster and rebuild sites in five states, and they also deployed to the Bahamas following Hurricane Dorian.

“The storms are coming, Scripture tells us that,” Edward said. “But who better to send after a disaster than these men and women who’ve experienced military life and combat.”

This initiative of Samaritan’s Purse North American Ministries and Operation Heal Our Patriots is designed to provide our military couples with opportunities to actively serve in a team environment—helping those in need while also pointing to the hope and comfort found in Jesus Christ. Veterans are able to bring one other family member per deployment, either their spouse or a child 14 years of age or older.

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