Nebraska District LCMS Nebraska District Office
Congregations Volunteer After Spring Storms

2004 was a crazy year for weather. Long remembered will be the record four hurricanes that struck Florida during the summer. For many people in Nebraska, the destructive weather pattern began on May 22 when a devastating tornado tore through towns and the countryside of southeastern Nebraska.

In the aftermath of these terrible storms, many congregations and individuals stepped up to offer hands of help and donations to the storm victims. Two congregations who were quick to respond to the needs of the victims in Hallam and the surrounding areas were St. John’s in Kramer, near Crete, and Good Shepherd, Milford. Orphan Grain Train (OGT) in Norfolk was also an important partner in responding to this disaster.

According to Patty Stradley, who helped organize the initial volunteer efforts following the tornado, in less than twelve hours after the storm hit there was enough food bought and donated to feed 900 people. Thrivent, Orphan Grain Train, and Lutheran Family Services are all members of the Nebraska Lutheran Disaster Response and were working to get disaster response efforts started.

Joannie Smejkal, a member of Good Shepherd, Milford, happened to be checking with Dick Jostes of OGT and he shared that they were trying to find a church in the area to help and Good Shepherd to the task on right away. After a couple of weeks of volunteering, Good Shepherd turned the task over to St. John’s (Kramer), Crete. These two churches worked together in this way to provide hot meals to the disaster victims and to provide volunteer help in cleaning up the debris.

What a blessing that these two congregations were each willing to take part of the responsibility and work together to show the love of God to the victims and volunteers at this difficult time.

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Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
PO Box 90
Milford, NE 68405

1-402-761-3146
Rev. Bill Ryden


St. John Lutheran Church (Kramer)
11400 West Panama Rd.
Crete, NE 68333

1-402-826-3883
Rev. Wade Mattsfield

PO Box 407 • 152 S. Columbia Ave. • Seward NE 68434 • Phone 1-888-643-2961 • Fax: 1-402-643-2990
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