Fort Irwin’s two chapels, the Center Chapel and Black Horse Chapel, suffered major flood damage from the Aug. 25 storm. At the Center Chapel, storm waters flowed through the chapel front door up to the third and fourth rows of pews from the rear. Water also damaged three offices and chapel restrooms.
Center Chapel’s NCOIC Sgt. 1st Class Clifford Crum called Chaplain (Col.) Terry McBride about 6:30 p.m. to report the situation. At that time, McBride and his wife were squeegeeing water away from their flooded patio with two snow shovels.
McBride, with his two snow shovels, Crum, and Chaplain Assistant Spc. Brady Teaff, were reinforced by “Ed” and “Kevin,” two Operations Group officers, who stopped by, asking if they could help. A firefighter checking Fort Irwin cantonment area also stopped by with a shop vac. McBride later estimated they emptied the shop vac about 25-50 times that night.
McBride credited the work done that night allowed the chapel to continue its normal scheduled events that week.
“We are business as usual, because of great people, their spiritual resiliency,” McBride said. “Everyone who helped out on Sunday night attends chapel, whether it’s Roman Catholic, Protestant, or whatever service. They are part of our congregation; they are part of the body of Christ.”
The 11th Armored Calvary Regiment Black Horse Chapel was flooded up to the altar, including its classrooms, damaging the carpets as well as the base of the pews. Chaplain Assistant Spc. James Myers and Sgt. 1st Class Thomas Roldan spent the evening trying to slow the water rushing in, but it was too strong, even seeping in from the walls.
“The water came through the back door,” Roldan said. “Water came around, very muddy water. The room next to us was a lake.”