Most people don’t run toward disaster, but Tim Wiers did. Tim said he was blessed to be in Eastern Kentucky when flash floods swept through seven counties there this past August.
Many people were sleeping when rushing water lifted houses off of their foundations, shredded belongings, threw cars into trees, and turned roads into mudslides. Forty-one people, including four children from one family, died as a result of the flood.
Tim had been volunteering with CrossRoads Missions in the Maytown/Langley area for several weeks when torrential rains began. Flood waters were up to his tires as he headed home to Jeffersonville, Indiana. Tired after weeks of hard work, Tim was halfway home when he felt the nudging of the Holy Spirit. Knowing people needed help, he turned around.
It was exactly how Tim hoped life would look when he retired from his job as an airplane mechanic at UPS last year. He was just 58.
“I wanted to retire early, while I was still healthy, to serve the Lord,” he said. “I went from a paycheck-driven life to a purpose-driven life. I was exactly where I wanted to be. I sat in the rest area before turning around and thought, ‘This is why I retired. For this moment. I don’t have to worry about asking for vacation or time off. I am free to help anytime.’”
Tim described himself as a “pew-warmer” before clicking on Southeast’s Unleashed App to see volunteer opportunities. With his skill set seeming like a match, he connected with CrossRoads Missions and began looking forward to investing more time toward helping people.
Water receded by the time Tim reached Maytown with a few cans of green beans and beef stew in case stores were closed. Everything was covered with layers of mud and silt beside piles of ruined furniture and appliances. Neighbors said the flood line had never been that high before.
Tim had been praying for someone to come help when Rick Forman called to volunteer. When Rick asked when to come, Tim answered, “Today would be good.” He hung up thankful for someone willing to step into hard projects.
By the time others arrived to help, Tim had a list of projects. He loved watching God pair skills with needs.
“When we met with volunteers from Southeast and other churches, I’d go over tasks for the day and ask, ‘Can anybody fix a garage door for the firehouse?’ A hand would go up. ‘A washing machine?’ Another hand. ‘Rip out drywall?’ ‘Can anyone muck out a widow’s house?’ ‘Mop a church?’ And so the list went on and on. Always a volunteer willing to tackle a job,” he said.
Teams made a difference. Jobs that would take days for one person to finish took only hours with a crew. Throughout Maytown, people asked, “What kind of people come in to do this kind of work?”
CrossRoads Associate Director Tim Anderson said it’s hard to find the words to describe what it meant to have Tim already on the ground to meet needs.
“Tim has an unbelievable servant’s heart,” he said. “Neighbors in Maytown love him. So do teams. His work is meticulous, but he always takes time with people.”
Tim Wiers said the work of recovery in Eastern Kentucky is just beginning.
“These people may not be back in their homes for Thanksgiving or Christmas,” he said. “We need a lot of hands to help. Our goal is to get people back in their homes by the holidays.”