CrossRoads Missions started 30 years ago and since it began, has grown to have multiple fields across different states and two countries. Headquartered in Louisville, we never anticipated having a field in western Kentucky which is essentially our backyard. That all changed on December 10th, 2021. That night, a massive E4 tornado tore through the area causing unbelievable destruction and loss. In the following months, CrossRoads team members made multiple trips to the area and decided that we had to help in some way. At that point, CrossRoads leadership began formulating a plan to open a field in the area. Full-time staff were hired to run the field; Curtis Porch from Tennessee to be the construction manager, Dylan McGowan from Princeton to be the field coordinator, and Buddy Pool from Princeton to be the electrician. Later, Ryan Thommason was brought on as an intern and Kathryn Turner was brought on in a hospitality role. In April, Operation Recovery officially opened and hosted the first volunteer group in May.
Since then, we have had the privilege of serving the communities of Princeton and Dawson Springs, and being the hands and feet of Jesus to those affected by the tornado. Over the last 18 months, we have done just shy of 30,000 hours of work which has an equivalent labor value of almost $600,000. The work we have done has been almost anything you can think of. We have done home repairs, helped with full rebuilds, moved furniture, yard work, wrapped presents, gardened, built beds, and everything in between. It has been such a blessing to do this work and God has blessed us in many mighty ways.
Stories from the Field – Operation Recovery
One of our favorite stories from Operation Recovery is that of Scott and Cindy Lowther. They live next door to the church where our volunteers stay and would say hi from time to time. One day Cindy came to the church and said she needed help getting Scott off the floor. Scott can’t walk and is in a wheelchair. He had fallen out of his chair and Cindy wasn’t able to lift him.
We helped get him back into his chair and thought nothing else of it. A few weeks go by and one day Dylan was talking with Cindy, and she mentioned that when they got their tax money, they were hoping to build a wheelchair ramp that connected to their front porch as Scott really didn’t have any way to get out of the house unaided. However, she was worried they wouldn’t be able to afford it.
We ended up being able to allocate the funds to pay for the materials as well as the labor to build the ramp and once it was done, the smile on Scott’s face was amazing. He told us that he had a newfound sense of freedom that he had lost, and Cindy said that now, she has to actually go out and look for him because he rolls all around the neighborhood whereas before, he couldn’t get off the front porch.
Another of our favorite stories is that of Mike Skinner. Mike lived in Dawson at the time of the tornado and had major damage because of it. In the aftermath of the tornado, victims were told to be very wary of contractors and people offering help, as many people were being scammed. When we first opened the field, we had to find work for our volunteers because our major partner, Habitat for Humanity, wasn’t ready to begin work right at that time.
Curtis was out in Dawson, stopping in and speaking with people to see how we could help them when he came to Mike’s home. Mike actually answered the door with a gun because he was so worried about being taken advantage of. He was very hesitant at first to accept our help but eventually agreed.
The first volunteer group we hosted did work at his house and about halfway through the week, his whole attitude changed. You could see the gratitude and emotion on his face and he was so thankful for the help. Mike isn’t a churchgoing person but after that week, he asked the volunteer group to let him know when they would be taking another mission trip because he wanted to accompany them.
We could fill pages with the other stories of how we’ve impacted these communities that we’ve been given the privilege of serving. None of that could have happened without the support of our ministry partners and volunteer groups. We’re so thankful to have the opportunity to be here and to be doing this work. At the end of this year, we will have completed 23 total homes with Habitat for Humanity and probably close to 100 other jobs. We’re very excited to see what God has for us in the future here in western Kentucky. Please continue to pray for us and most importantly, come serve with us. The trip is still totally free, and all food will be provided. We can’t wait to work with you!