LCU alum John Knox (’84) stood outside the Granbury Church of Christ with the congregation he ministers to on Wednesday night as they watched the EF-4 tornado sweep across the Rancho Brazos region of Granbury, only 8 miles from where they stood. Knox, also a volunteer law enforcement chaplain, is accustomed to delivering difficult news and was prepared for the challenging days he knew were ahead of them.
Knox assisted search and rescue in the command center until 2:30am, when he headed home to get three hours of rest before facing the duty of comforting six families on the loss of their loved ones the next day.
“It’s a difficult thing,” said Knox. “You treat the people the way you want your family to be treated in those circumstances.”
The process of comforting those who have lost a loved one varies from person to person, situation to situation according to Knox. The key to Knox’s job, however, is what he calls “ministry of presence” -- a whole lot more listening than talking. “My dad died when I was 15,” said Knox. “We had no church family, no one to support us.”
Knox also mentioned that when he first breaks the news to the families, he asks if they have a minister or someone from their church who can be that support for them. Seventy percent of the time the answer is no. It was in the difficult moments when his father died that he decided he wanted to be that person for others.
Now, when Knox is listening, walking the families through the process of what’s next, helping them with decisions -- he asks them if it’s okay if he prays with them. Knox claims that in 24 years no one has told him no. As a testimony to how dedicated Knox is to his duty as a 24/7 chaplain volunteer, he was called to another crisis in the area unrelated to the tornado soon after he got home to rest.
On the Friday night after the tornado, Knox and first responders met at Granbury Church of Christ for a debriefing. The Granbury Church of Christ serves as the host location for approximately 20 representatives from different organizations who provide services to those hit and affected by the storm.
See more about LCU alum John Knox and the tornado: Lubbock’s KCBD News Channel 11 video