DAYTON, OH – The community of Dayton grieves at a makeshift memorial for nine people who were killed early Sunday by a gunman. Billy Graham Rapid Response chaplains are there to listen and provide emotional and spiritual care to hurting residents, including first responders and witnesses to the shooting.
A grim reality is sinking in for the Dayton, Ohio, community as funerals continue for nine people killed during a horrific shooting early Sunday, August 4. The gunman was also killed, and dozens were injured.
In the popular nightlife district where the shootings took place, a conglomeration of people are mourning—all in a tiny one-block area. Police officers looking for shell casings walk alongside neighborhood addicts as well grieving family members. A makeshift memorial sits in close proximity to adult video stores and the like.
In the midst of it all, the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team is ministering to people from all walks of life.
“It’s very intense,” said Strib Boynton, chaplain coordinator for the deployment. “Each person in this neighborhood thinks of the victims as part of their larger family. Everyone seems to know each other. They’re really grieving together.”
The chaplains have ministered to everyone from homeless people to police officers to politicians. Acknowledging the mix of ministry opportunities to share God’s love, Boynton confirmed, “The Lord brought us here.”
Chaplain Rick Beer had the opportunity to pray with a man named Harry at the memorial site, only to discover they had been in Basic Training together more than 30 years ago. God orchestrated this reunion so that Rick could lead Harry to Christ.
About the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team
The Billy Graham Rapid Response Team was developed by Franklin Graham and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. It has since grown into an international network of chaplains in the U.S., U.K., Canada and Australia who are specifically trained to deal with crisis situations. They have deployed to more than 300 disaster sites, including shootings, floods, hurricanes, wildfires and tornadoes.
To read more news on Disaster Relief on Missions Box, go here.