FRESNO – February 17th marked an evening of long-awaited celebration after two years of postponements for California Southern Baptist Disaster Relief ministry leaders and volunteers. Seven awards were presented to distinguished individuals for contributions made during deployments taking place both nationally and internationally between 2020 to 2022.
During the opening of the program, Disaster Relief Ministries Director, Mike Bivins shared that the ministry saw over 400 volunteer participants and served over 500,000 meals during those years. Bivins stated, “He keeps giving us work to do!”
Dr. Naomi Paget BCC, an FBI Crisis Interventionist and Chaplain, with a career spanning 61 years with the SBC, Red Cross, and other humanitarian relief agencies spoke at the banquet with an uplifting message of appreciation for the volunteer efforts, emphasizing that “The Holy Spirit is always on our side.”
Bivins presented an award to the Business Services team of the California Southern Baptist Convention, in appreciation for their involvement with Disaster Relief projects and deployments. Sally Cook, CSBC Controller, accepted the award for the Business Services team. Sally reacted to the honor by saying, “The Disaster Relief Ministry is blessed with a wonderful set of volunteers. They are moved to action and are a beautiful example of being the ‘hands and feet’ of Jesus. I was humbled that our team was included in the recognition mix. We are happy to do what we do so that our ministry teams can effectively reach those in need!”
Sisters and fellow DR Volunteers, Joanne Bryan and Joyce Harman, both residents from Yorba Linda, received the Golden State award. This specific award is in recognition of outstanding service that displays the mission and embodies the spirit of California Southern Baptist Disaster Relief. Eric Neilsen and Neils Johnson were both honored with the Golden State Award as well. Following the acceptance of the award, Nielsen commented “I have never been in a deployment where I didn’t take away more than I invested.”
The Hallmark Award, given to those who have made a significant contribution to California Southern Baptist Disaster Relief while exhibiting an attitude of servanthood, was presented to Ray and Pat Pardee from Concord, California.
The final award of the evening, The John Paget Legacy Award, named in honor of Dr. Naomi Paget’s late husband, was awarded to Oak View’s Ron Hughes, for his spirit of service that inspires others and maintains a standard of professional leadership for California Southern Baptist Disaster Relief ministry. “When we are deployed the Lord always provides. The Lord guides us through it all,” Ron Hughes shared upon accepting his award at the closing of the awards program of the banquet.