First American Dream Center Benefits from Unprecedented Partnerships

By , May 31, 2002
Volunteers praying during dedication of FADC

Volunteers praying during dedication of FADC

For one year leading to the dedicatory event, David Lorency, International Field Director and his staff at Operation Compassion worked feverishly to put together a celebration of untold proportions. The beneficiaries of this weeklong celebration would be the Indian Nations of the Southwest, in particular, the Navajo Nation. No one knew what the exact outcome would be as everyone began to gather in Gallup, NM on April 30, 2002. However, as the week and the event began to unfold, it became evident right from the start that something special was happening – partnerships!

Hugh & Pat Faulds, volunteers from Arizona

Hugh & Pat Faulds, volunteers from Arizona

Never before in the history of Operation Compassion has so many agencies partnered on a single project. With amazement, four food relief agencies and two volunteer based agencies pooled their resources to make an impact on one of the poorest segments of the American population.

Several weeks prior to the event, Operation Compassion began sending semi loads of fifty-pound food boxes, bottled water, clothes, juices, chips, candy and toys to the newly built warehouse to be dedicated as the First American Dream Center. In fact, thirteen semis transferred product from Operation Compassion warehouses in the east to Gallup, NM.

Feed the Children semi leaving the FADC unloaded.

Feed the Children semi leaving the FADC unloaded.

From that beginning, other agencies started joining the effort. Larry Jones, President of Feed the Children sent a semi load of food boxes and bottled water for the dedication event. In fact, one of the semis actually came on Thursday during the week adding excitement and a sense of expectancy. Joann Orff of Feed the Children was instrumental in providing the logistics for the semis.

James & Sharon Rodgers, Director FACD with Carey Ketchum, Director, Northern Arizona Food Bank.

James & Sharon Rodgers, Director FACD with Carey Ketchum, Director, Northern Arizona Food Bank.

Dave Phillips, President of Children’s Hunger Fund came on board with much needed products for the dedication. A semi loaded with food boxes was delivered to the Dream Center adding more excitement as the Navajo began to realize for the first time that the Dream Center was not a mere dream or broken promise but a reality from people who care about them and their future.

Navajo families gathering for food distribution.

Navajo families gathering for food distribution.

Then on Friday, a semi pulled into the dream Center dock from Northern Arizona Food Bank. Carey Ketchum, Director had arranged for a semi of bottled water and a variety of food to be delivered. The best of his delivery came at the last minute. As the staff of the Food Bank was loading our truck, they received a small donation of oranges and cherry tomatoes. In the spirit of generosity, they loaded those products into our semi and the Navajo enjoyed fresh produce.

Douglas Cline and David Lorency observe volunteers loading food for Navajo families.

Douglas Cline and David Lorency observe volunteers loading food for Navajo families.

It was simply amazing to watch as the food relief agencies partnered to provide more than 1,200 Navajo families with fifty-pound food boxes, bottled water, juice, chips, snacks, fresh produce, clothes, candy and countless of miscellaneous food items that were included.

However, that is only the beginning of the story. With product coming in from all over the country, how was it going to be handled and distributed without chaos reigning? The answer was simple – volunteers!

Orville Hagan, International Director, Church of God Evangelism and Home Missions, was instrumental in acquiring the land for the First American Dream Center. Also, he opened the door of cooperation between Operation Compassion and Douglas Cline, Director, Southwest Indian Ministries. Doug Cline made his staff and support personnel available to work in every area from the construction of the Dream Center to distribution of the food. He allowed his offices, campground and equipment to be used whenever necessary.

Ray Hughes, Jr., Jimmy Jones and Leonard Albert in FADC warehouse.

Ray Hughes, Jr., Jimmy Jones and Leonard Albert in FADC warehouse.

About six months prior to the dedicatory events, Leonard Albert, International Director, Church of God Lay Ministries, had a brainstorm for initiating a new program for volunteers – Life Builders Matthew 25 Men! His idea was so simple it had to work. Bring men together from all walks of life, from around the country and utilize them as a team to go into areas of extreme poverty. These men would fund their trips, work renovating or repairing homes, doing whatever needed to be done to lift these families out of their poverty. The kick off would be the First American Dream Center Dedication!

Dr. John D. Nichols, President, Operation Compassion is praying during dedication.

Dr. John D. Nichols, President, Operation Compassion is praying during dedication.

During the entire week men poured in from all over the country, converging on Gallup, NM and the Dream Center. There were plenty of men and some women that worked all week in preparation for the distribution of food on Saturday.

When Dr. John D. Nichols, President, Operation Compassion and the Board of Directors cast a vision and made financial provision for this ministry, they had no idea of the outcome. More than a year later, it has become evident that their vision was a catalyst for bringing people and agencies together to profoundly affect a forgotten people.

Together we celebrate! Not only for the dedication of Operation Compassion First American Dream Center but for the partnerships that were forged. In one week, for the Navajo Nation, six agencies came together to make a difference.

Tim Burdashaw
Communications Coordinator

Anyone interested in donating finances or products or providing a corporate lead may contact:

Operation Compassion
David Lorency, President

114 Stuart Road, NE
Suite 370
Cleveland, TN 37312
423.728.3932 – Office
423.596.4200 – Fax


Comments are closed