Billy Graham Rapid Response Team chaplains deploy to Santa Cruz, California, wildfires

RRT Press Kit

CHARLOTTE, N.C., Sept. 11, 2020 – On the 19th anniversary of 9/11, a chaplain ministry founded in the aftermath of the attacks is deploying to Santa Cruz, California. A team of crisis-trained Billy Graham Rapid Response Team (RRT) chaplains will provide emotional and spiritual care alongside Samaritan’s Purse at the CZU Lightning Complex fire disaster area.

Now 85-percent contained, the CZU Lightning Complex fire has burned more than 86,000 acres in the past 25 days and has destroyed nearly 1,100 structures—including more than 900 single-family homes—with thousands of residents being evacuated.

“These fires have destroyed so many homes and possessions, and left thousands of people in despair,” said Josh Holland, assistant director of the RRT. “We are sending a team of crisis-trained chaplains to Santa Cruz to share the hope and peace that can only come from God. As the fires continue, our nationwide-network of chaplains are praying for all of those who are impacted, including the firefighters who are risking their lives to help contain the many fires.”

Friday marks the second wildfire deployment of 2020 as the RRT previously sent chaplains to Napa, California, during the LNU Complex fire, providing emotional and spiritual care from Aug. 25 – Sept. 2. Teams of chaplains are also serving at two locations in Iowa after the August derecho storm, and four locations in Louisiana after Hurricane Laura battered the coast as a Category 4 hurricane.

For more information on the ministry, including videos, photos, news articles and an interactive map of former and current deployments, visit BillyGraham.org/RRT. Updates can also be found at Facebook.com/RRTChaplains.

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 450 disaster sites across the globe, including shootings, floods, hurricanes, wildfires and tornadoes.

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