Fight for Puerto Rico
Major Bessie Babbitt is one of our most highly trained Emergency Disaster Responders in Massachusetts. She and her husband, Tom, lead the Cambridge Corps Community Center.
Throughout her career, Major Babbitt has deployed following major disasters, natural and manmade, including New York after the 9/11 attack and Hurricane Katrina.
So it was no surprise when Major Babbitt was requested to provide Emotional and Spiritual Care in Texas after Hurricane Harvey.
Less than two months later in October, she was requested for another two-week deployment—this time to Puerto Rico.
“My responsibility was to help with food and water and just be a support to the individuals who had gone through this tragedy,” Major Babbitt relates.
Her team was having trouble contacting the pastor of a church in a community badly impacted by the storm.
“I just decided, you know what, let’s go. Let’s go see if we can find this church.” Her team loaded the 26-foot box truck with food and water.
“There were telephone poles laying down, just debris everywhere. And there was no way this big truck was going to make it through.”
Frustrated about their unsuccessful efforts to get to people in need, her team huddled to determine what to do.
“I remember hearing children as we were driving. There was a school. So we said, ‘Let’s just go back there and see if maybe the school would give the supplies out to the parents and their children.’”
When they spoke to the principal, she was in tears. They had been praying that someone would come with food. She said, “The Salvation Army came!’”
They filled a classroom with water and food.
“I love working in Emergency Disaster Services. It’s a passion, it is part of my ministry and I love that the Lord has called me to do that.”
In February of 2018, Major Babbitt deployed for a third time following the 2017 Hurricane Season. Her second deployment to Puerto Rico included five Salvation Army Advisory Board Members.