The Emotional and Spiritual Toll of Wildfires

As a part of the assessment of emotional and spiritual care needs, the Oklahoma Conference of Churches (OCC) Director of Emotional and Spiritual Care used a Midwest Early Recovery Fund grant to conduct a series of meetings and interviews with sixteen disaster-affected residents and community leaders on December 13, 2017. OCC documented frightening stories of life-threatening trauma and also powerful stories of strength, grief, resiliency, and creativity.

Interviews and group meetings were organized by OCC Disaster Team Leader, Stephen Hale of Laverne, OK (right, seated). Donny Maphet (right, standing) who leads the United Methodist Church in Gate, Oklahoma, is keenly aware of emerging financial and emotional/spiritual care needs that continue to exist resulting from the wildfires. Donny’s own story of personal loss related to the wildfire and his harrowing story of survival during and in the immediate aftermath of the wildfires offer a tiny glimpse into the realities of this disaster.

(Photo source: Oklahoma Conference of Churches (OCC)