Pastor mobilizes relief team for Maui wildfire aftermath, reuniting community amidst tragedy

He has deep roots in the community.
Published: Aug. 16, 2023 at 3:41 AM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - The search for survivors of the Maui wildfires continues, and the death toll has already made this one of the deadliest US wildfires in more than a century.

Prompting a Rapid City pastor to begin to form a relief team for the community he was once a part of.

“14 years ago, I moved here after serving 11 years in Maui at a church called Kumulani Chapel that’s just north of Lahaina and that was decimated in the fires,” said Landmark Community Church pastor Scott Craig.

Having family and friends still in that area brings a sense of urgency to the team Craig has put together.

“My kids grew up there, and we’re part of the community. We gave our lives there; they gave their lives to us, and it’s a very special community, and as they say, ‘Ohana,’ it’s a family right there in the islands, and it breaks your heart to see your family then go through such suffering,” explained Craig.

With FEMA arriving at the Maui staging site on Sunday, getting outside help into the affected area is a process, as approval is needed beforehand for who comes in and who goes out.

“I’ve spoken to Governor Josh Green multiple times and reassured the state will have everything it needs from the federal government,” said President Joe Biden.

“Inter-island air and sea transportation for the movement of cargo, personnel, supplies, and equipment,” added Pentagon deputy press secretary Sabrina Singh.

Once they have access to go into the affected area, giving necessary supplies along with spiritual and emotional support will be the goal.

First, it’s going to be entry into the area that was most affected; they are trying to filter who comes in and who’s really there to do something good compared to just gawk and take pictures,” explained Craig. “Then, it’s going to be identifying the places that need the help the most, and we’ve got a lot of connections there and people that are waiting for us and will help us deploy.”

The deployment of the relief group will be sporadic as they continue to try and work with organizations to get into the area and help. A handful of individuals will be heading to Maui on Friday, with Craig noting this is only the first of many teams headed down there.

If you are interested in helping with the mission that Scott Craig and the relief team will be doing in Maui, you can head to the Landmark Community Church website.