Faith leads man to aid disaster victims

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Almon Poss doesn't help those victimized by accidents or severe weather incidents because he wants to. He does it because God wants him to.

Almon Poss, a Harlem resident and businessman, volunteers with the American Red Cross and other relief organizations.  Jim Blaylock/Staff
Jim Blaylock/Staff
Almon Poss, a Harlem resident and businessman, volunteers with the American Red Cross and other relief organizations.

"We all have to go places where we're led to go," the 67-year-old said. "A lot of people will tell you, 'Oh, I love doing this.' Really and truly, it's tough. It's just that I feel like it's my calling."

The Harlem resident volunteered to serve as a cook as part of a Southern Baptist relief effort in the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina.

Since then, Mr. Poss has worked as a cook, chaplain or some other support role with Southern Baptist Convention Disaster Relief groups or the American Red Cross in Texas, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia.

He has helped families devastated by hurricanes, tornadoes and fires.

"The worst thing is people being without homes," he said. "People don't realize it until they get out there and get to helping people. These people really need help and counseling."

However, Mr. Poss said he typically refrains from advising the victims he encounters.

He prefers to simply listen.

"People at that point in their lives are questioning God," he said. "Who wouldn't say, 'Why me Lord?' You just kind of tell them that there are some things he doesn't control, but he has a plan."

When he isn't volunteering to help displaced families, Mr. Poss runs his Grovetown business, Red Barn Produce and Grandpa's Garden Center, which sells plants, fruits, vegetables and patio furniture.

"When you get a certain age, you have to find your own work, so I just went into business for myself," he said.

Mr. Poss said he has a loyal customer base that understands his need to close his store on occasion to attend to relief efforts.

"They always wait until we re-open," he said. "They are very supportive of my disaster work."

A longtime Christian and member of Old Union Baptist Church near Harlem, Mr. Poss said he derives the strength he needs from God.

That strength helps him help others.

"They (disaster victims) need someone to be strong for them," he said. "If you go into it and you listen to people, you can't get upset. You've got to stay calm to help people."

Reach Donnie Fetter at (706) 868-1222, ext. 115, or


AGE: 67

HOME: Harlem

OCCUPATION: owner of Red Barn Produce and Grandpa's Garden Center in Grovetown

FAMILY: Wife, Esther; son, Michael; grandchildren, Rance, Kate, Kayla and Trent

QUOTE: "God told me to go. That's the only reason I'm out there. Otherwise, I'd be home."

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karmakills123 03/02/09 - 10:27 am
Thank you for your gifts Mr.

Thank you for your gifts Mr. Poss...........................

curly123053 03/02/09 - 10:35 am
I am part of the Southern

I am part of the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief from SC and I can say for sure it is the Lord's calling to serve others in their time of need. God Bless Mr Poss for being obedient to the Call of God. If we all took the time to follow the Lord's Will this world would be a much better place.

vermint 03/02/09 - 12:01 pm
Bless you Mr. Poss! My

Bless you Mr. Poss! My husband is part of SB Disaster Relief in SC and is passionate about the work. BUT, Disaster Relief is in desparate need of younger men and women. The current crews, at least the ones I know of, are getting up in age. There are chainsaw and mudout crews as well as cooking and childcare units. They all involve long hours, and hard work.
Edited to add: You do not have to be a member of a Baptist church to become involved in the work. If you know someone who is, they can give you info. Also your state's Southern Baptist Convention office can probably tell you the nearest church with a crew.

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