Gonzales, Louisiana (September 22, 2021) The Salvation Army officers and volunteers serving Hurricane Ida survivors in the Ascension Parish in Louisiana know her as Major LeighAnn Craddock. Lieutenant Johnathan Flowers, however, knows her as Mom.
Major LeighAnn Craddock is a corps officer for The Salvation Army in Columbia/Midlands, South Carolina. Her son, Lieutenant Johnathan Flowers, is a Salvation Army officer in Springdale, Arkansas. Typically, they live 921 miles apart – a 13.5-hour drive – and talk by phone or Facetime. This week they are separated by only a few feet as they serve in ministry to help restore lives after Hurricane Ida.
“Mom has such a capacity for loving people,” said Lt. Flowers about Major Craddock. “It is wonderful to see her carry out her ministry as an emotional and spiritual care officer – she’s really helping people who have lost so much from the hurricane.”
This is Major Craddock’s seventh disaster deployment, but her first time to work with one of her children on a large-scale disaster.
“There are three things I have realized since being here in Gonzales.: 1) It is a blessing to be with family. The Salvation Army works together in ministry all the time, yet it’s incredible to work in ministry together with family; 2) You raise your children to be a world-changer – at this moment in time I have the privilege to witness my son doing just that; and 3) To both have the calling to serve God and into Salvation Army officership is amazing. I know we play a part in bringing restoration to brokenness. When brokenness happens, The Salvation Army is ready and waiting to help.”
But the Craddock/Flowers team are not the only parent and child duo working together to serve in Gonzales. Sgt. Michael Schlichting, corps officer in Altus, Oklahoma and his son, Kelsey Schlichting, who works at a Salvation Army Family Store are working together to serve meals, drinks, and emotional and spiritual care from a mobile feeding unit.
“It is one of the most gratifying and satisfying things in my life to see Kelsey doing what he was brought up to do,” said Sgt. Schlichting. “We have really enjoyed working together.”
When speaking with Kelsey, he says, “I’m just glad I can do something for others. I never expected so much gratitude for something as simple as food and water, yet we receive so much, I’ve become very encouraged.”
These families are a small part of the hundreds of Salvation Army Officers, employees, and volunteers hare are serving or have served in response to Hurricane Ida.