Crisis-trained chaplains from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) were requested to provide emotional and spiritual care to the county in January after a 15-year-old student fatally shot two fellow students and injured 14 others with a handgun at Marshall County High School in Benton, KY. Fourteen chaplains were deployed to comfort this population of about 4,500.
The chaplains were welcomed at multiple events, including a prayer vigil, memorial service, and government meeting. Chaplain Coordinator David Hicks commented that many people have rededicated their lives to Christ. “You can see the Spirit of God working here,” he said.
Chaplains had the opportunity to pray with school administrators and many of the shooting victims and their families. The community expressed gratitude to the chaplains, even pausing at stoplights to say thank you.
“This is as faith-based a community as I’ve ever encountered,” said Bob Cooper, a crisis-trained chaplain. At the school’s first basketball game after the shooting, four teenage boys were seen carrying Bibles. These boys had been planning and praying for a revival long before the tragedy occurred within their school.
–LIZZY LONG, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association