Daniel Boone re-enactor helping in efforts to aid Missouri tornado victims
Former law enforcement officer and Daniel Boone re-enactor Steve Caudill is helping organize relief efforts for victims of the Joplin, Mo., tornado. (Sun file photo by James Mann / July 18, 2011)
“I kept watching this thing on TV, and I told my wife, ‘I wonder what I can do to help,’” said Caudill, a former law enforcement officer who is well-known as a Daniel Boone re-enactor.
His church, Calvary Christian, soon organized a trip to Missouri to deliver supplies, and Caudill accompanied other church members to the devastated city on June 18.
While in Joplin, Caudill realized that people from all over the country had been generous in donating necessary supplies, like water.
In fact, the local church that Calvary members were working with, Calvary Chapel of Joplin, was inundated with water.
Instead, Caudill said, the church members were concerned about the schools destroyed by the tornado, and the schoolchildren in need of supplies to start the 2011-2012 school year.
The tornado destroyed two elementary schools, two Catholic schools, two middle schools and the town’s high school, affecting 4,300 children, according to Caudill.
To help those children and their families, the American Red Cross will be presenting Family Fun Day Aug. 16. Every child who attends will receive a new backpack with school supplies and a $10 Walmart gift card.
Walmart was one of the few businesses in the town not destroyed in the tornado. Event organizers wanted families to regain a sense of normalcy by going to the store and shopping for themselves.
After learning about Family Fun Day, Caudill immediately decided to help collect the $10 gift cards to go in the backpacks. The Red Cross planned to hand out 2,000 gift cards and Caudill returned home to Winchester to begin collecting as many as possible.
“This thing started snowballing. People are asking, ‘How can I¿help?’ They can simply do their shopping at Walmart and buy a gift card,” Caudill said.
He will return to Joplin Aug. 11 to begin preparing for Family Fun Day. Anyone wishing to donate a gift card can mail it to Caudill at 311 Primrose Lane, Winchester, KY 40391.
“I’ve been a policeman for over 20 years. I’ve seen a lot of horrible things. … I stood there at the edge of this debris field (in Joplin) and it looked like an atomic bomb went off. There was nothing that prepared me for that,” Caudill said.
After spending most of his adult life in law enforcement, Caudill said he views helping people as his calling. Although he is currently retired from police work, he still wants to be active in the community.
Helping people, both in Joplin and locally, is something Caudill views as an extension of his faith.
“There’s just so much more to do. … If you’re called, and you spend your entire life serving others, that doesn’t ever go away. I’m still serving, but I’ve got a different employer,” Caudill said.
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