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Survivor reunion

"Survivor reunion" Continued...

Around 6 a.m., the McNeils and their friends were able to get out of the truck and walk around. The water had swept away the group's other vehicles. Someone looked back at Marc's truck and commented, "There's Marc's Ark."

A few hours later, the group arrived at Pilgrim Rest, where volunteers provided the survivors with food and blankets. As the McNeil group sat in the church, the reality of what had just occurred began to set in. "I prayed to God to anchor this truck and send his angels to come around and hold it in place," Stacy said. "They did."

Marc believes God spared him and his family for a reason: "I don't know what that reason is yet, but my goal is to find out someday."

Many media outlets have portrayed Marc as a hero, but he and Stacy have wanted to set the record straight and give credit where they believe it is due.

"I'm not the hero," Marc said. "God is the hero."

First aid

Arkansas church offers support, compassion for flood victims

By Melody Karpinski

Pastor Graig Cowart (AP/Photo by Danny Johnston)

The pre-dawn flash flood that devastated a popular Arkansas campground on June 11 left dozens stranded and claimed the lives of 20 victims, seven of whom were children.

Graig Cowart, pastor of Pilgrim Rest Landmark Missionary Baptist Church in Lodi, Ark., offered his church as a refuge for survivors, and his church quickly became the designated reception facility for the remaining victims. "We just quit what we were doing and began to get the place set up," said Cowart. "By the time they began to arrive, we almost had more volunteers than victims."

One volunteer was Pastor E.J. Johnson of Glenwood, Ark., a town about 10 miles east of Lodi. "They were clearly in shock and disbelief," said Johnson, who pastors the Glenwood Church of Christ. "Each one had a story, some filled with amazing feats of heroism, and others with heartrending tragedy."

The Pilgrim Rest volunteers tried to fill needs such as offering the use of cell phones so survivors could contact family members out of state. As items poured in from the surrounding community, Cowart's wife, Andrea, helped organize the donations. "It's unbelievable the amount of supplies that had come in," she said, 'from people two miles away to 200 miles away."

Amidst the tragedy, the Cowarts say they have seen God's hand move in ways they never could have imagined. "We looked at this as an opportunity that God had placed in our lives, for our faith to take on legs," Graig said. "We put our lives on hold, and submerged our lives in the lives of others."

Johnson agreed, saying, "People are tired of fake Christianity and everyone's kind of on to it now." He believes the disaster provided an opportunity for people to "be real."

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