by Charles Ray
former CBF National Coordinator for Disaster Response
& CBF Arkansas Special Projects Coordinator
CBF lost the best friend they ever had in disaster response Saturday (August 29) with the death of Rev. Marvin (Moose) Jackson. I had been on the job only thirty days as US Disaster Coordinator when I met Moose on a desolate road in Florida a day after a tornado had killed twenty eight people and left dozens homeless. Moose was about as new as we were to this work. He had equipment, and we had people. He worked for another Baptist group, the American Baptist Association (ABA), a Missionary Baptist group. We became partners.
About two weeks after returning to Arkansas, a powerful storm devastated one of our southern counties on a Saturday night. As I was leaving the CBFAR office early Sunday morning with supplies, my phone rang. It was Moose. He asked if I was going to Dumas, and I responded that I was on my way. He shocked me by saying that he and a team had driven all night from Florida and would meet me in Dumas around noon. I asked him why he was doing this, and he replied that I had helped him and now it was his turn.
Before Moose could get from Dumas back to Florida, another tornado destroyed a high school in Enterprise, Ala. I arranged for a CBF partner church to house and feed Moose’s team, and they worked there for the next three weeks.
For the next seven years, everywhere CBFResponds went, so did ABA. Moose was our presence in Sandy, NJ, where we bought twenty heaters, and he delivered them to twenty families. My favorite photo of Moose took place in Baton Rouge, LA. Moose used a Bobcat to clear one of our partner church’s campuses. We called the picture—“A Moose in a Bobcat.”
We have lost a dear friend. May we be more like Moose.