One Soldier in God's Mighty Army

June 04, 2013
Krachel Greenwood | krachel_greenwood@usc.salvationarmy.org | (405) 613-9698

One Soldier in God's Mighty Army

Moore, OK (June 4, 2013) - “This is the best sandwich I’ve ever had,” Heather Murray exclaims as she bites into the foot-long sub given to her by Major Tom Louden, Incident Commander for The Salvation Army’s Emergency Disaster Services response to the May Oklahoma tornadoes.

On Monday, June 2, Major Louden left the Incident Command center and his administrative duties to visit the areas in Canadian County, Oklahoma, hit by Friday night’s EF3 tornado. The storm, with winds gusting up to 165 miles per hour, left several Union City area families homeless. On the day Major Louden visited, they were picking up what personal belongings they could find--many strewn, in some cases, over nearly a mile of fields and farm land. The visit gave him a chance to do what he loves best—serve others in the name of the Lord.

Major Louden is no stranger to Oklahoma; he held a two-year appointment in Sand Springs as a Salvation Army minister and community leader (corps officer) and then a term of four years as the corps officer in Bartlesville. And he has suffered with Oklahomans; his first Emergency Disaster Services response experience was the Oklahoma City Bombing in 1995, and he served as Incident Commander when the Army responded to the Oklahoma tornadoes of 1999.

“In ’95 I was the Family Notification Center Coordinator; that’s the place where families gathered and waited for the positive identification of their loved ones’ bodies,” he recalled. “I watched Salvation Army officers connect with families and act as their guides, their shepherds. In one case I sent an officer with a family to collect DNA from home; they returned with some hair out of a hair brush. Another officer came back with a family carrying a toothbrush that belonged to one of the children who was in the daycare.”

It was while a young Tom Louden was at Asbury College that he realized his calling to live a life serving as God’s servant. A chaplain for the U.S. Senate spoke at a chapel service, and quoted Jeremiah 2:3 “…holiness unto the Lord.”

“In that moment everything around me disappeared,” he said, “and it was just about God. I realized that anything is possible when you are following God, and if I was doing what I want, and not what God wants, then I’m not living right.”

Twenty-three years later he crosses a field covered with CDs, kitchen appliances, and office supplies. On his shoulder he carries a box full of gloves, trash bags, and other recovery supplies to share with a family who has lost everything.

“Twenty-four hours ago we thought we were… messed up,” Joshua, the man who lived in the trailer home, explains.

With the help of a few family and friends, along with a nice warm meal from The Salvation Army, spirits began to lift as everyone took time from sifting through the weeds and debris.

Major Louden offers to pray with them and for them, and then he’s on his way.

It only takes one man to make a difference, but with the support of an entire Army behind him, Major Louden is delivering comfort and hope to entire families in Oklahoma.

 

About The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army, established in London in 1865, has been supporting those in need without discrimination for more than 135 years in the U.S. More than 25 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through a range of social services: food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless, and opportunities for underprivileged children. The Salvation Army tracks the level of need across the country with the Human Needs Index (HumanNeedsIndex.org). The Salvation Army has served survivors of every major national disaster since 1900. The Salvation Army does not place an administrative fee on disaster donations. During emergency disasters, 100 percent of designated gifts are used to support specific relief efforts. For more information, go to www.SalvationArmyUSA.org or follow on Twitter @SalvationArmyUS.

Our Mission

The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian Church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.
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