Major Evelyn Chavez has been involved in responding to her share of major disasters.
She ministered to survivors of the Northridge earthquake, cared for first responders at the school shootings in Columbine, served as the incident commander at the Houston Astrodome for survivors of hurricane Katrina, and most recently worked as a chaplain at a Port au Prince hospital after the massive earthquake in Haiti.
Those were all big events but the two weeks she spent in The Salvation Army tent at Ground Zero after the 9-11 terrorist attacks will touch her heart in a special way for the rest of her life.
Major Evelyn’s at her best in crisis moments; doing triage. Â Before God called her to be a Salvation Army officer, she worked as a medical assistant for a short time. Â Once she became an officer she was trained in Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) and in the Incident Command System (ICS), which is the standard management protocol of all disaster responding agencies.
But that’s not what’s given her the unique ability to handle the human chaos of a major disaster site. God’s given her exactly what she needs and equips her to have the right words at the right time.
When her husband Major Joe Frank Chavez was asked about the two gifts Major Evelyn has in abundance, he said she has “grace” and “discernment.” She’s strong and kind and can see into a situation and say what needs to be said.
“God’s given me a gift to be able to do this work and the opportunity to do it through The Salvation Army,” said Major Evelyn Chavez.
After each shift is over during her deployments, Major Evelyn journals about the day’s events. This is how she de-briefs and downloads what’s she’s seen, heard and experienced during her shift.
For the next week, we’ll post an excerpt from Major Evelyn’ 9-11 journal to this blog space. She describes events and conversations that will give us insight into what it was like to serve God and the people He loves at the scene of a major historical event.
>>> Did you know that The Salvation Army began their service at Ground Zero less than an hour after the terrorist attacks? Find out more by watching the short video clip below. <<<