Oklahoma Conference of the United Methodist Church

Sunny generosity follows storm in Harrah


Trustees Chairman Bill Spencer, left, and Sam George stand in front of the 80-kilowatt generator donated to Harrah UMC. At right, a ground crew directs as a crane lowers the equipment into place. Kneeling behind is Harrah electrician Mike Baker, with church member Marty Fry beside him.

To see videos, do a Web search for: "Weathering Disaster: Harrah, OK Tornado" and "Weathering Disaster: A final thank you."

Harrah United Methodist Church received a wonderful gift through Sam and Mary Lou George. But the gift givers and recipients hope it is never used.

Installation of an 80-kilowatt generator was completed in February at the church. The huge unit runs on natural gas, performs a weekly self-test—and can fully supply the church if electrical power fails.

Pastor Randy Little said this generator empowers the church to shelter and assist the community if disaster strikes Harrah, east of Oklahoma City.

A tornado disaster produced this gift.

In May 2010, the storm smacked the Georges’ home, scattering their possessions across acres. The members of Harrah UMC rallied to help.

"The people from our church were crawling all over, helping us," Sam recalled. "They showed up and came back—and came back. It was two weeks of picking up stuff. Some took off work just to help us."

The insurance company put a dollar value on the volunteers’ generosity. The Georges chose to give the money to the church.

This Harrah storm story also generated the interest of The Weather Channel, which reported it last fall as part of its "Weathering Disaster" series.

As a goodwill gesture, the companies wanted to give the Georges a vacation trip. "We said we don’t want something for us; we want something for the community, so the people have a safe haven," Sam said.

Thus the generator was donated to the church by an alliance of the insurer, the TV network, and the manufacturer.

Harrah UMC has been the Georges’ church home for some 32 years, Sam said. His pastor, Rev. Little, noted that Sam is the lay leader and that prayer afghans knitted by Mary Lou are regularly blessed in church before they are given away.

Sam said he felt doubly blessed when the promised generator was delivered. "There’s still good all over America. People keep their word," said the consulting engineer.

Also filling his heart that day was "how blessed I am to be part of a community that would pull together so much to help people like me. It surprises me how oblivious I was that we were making these friends through life."

The Georges now live in their new house. "In the natural destruction that takes place, we ask God to bless all the people," Sam said. — Holly McCray


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