MOUNTAIN AREA – When the devastating earthquake struck Nepal last week, the massive destruction and loss of life tugged at heart strings all across the world. Here in the mountain area, three young men decided to follow the irresistible urge to help.
Brothers Jacob and Sam Tallmon, along with Kory Nuñez, are on their way to Kathmandu to assist in any way they can.
Jacob Tallmon says he’s been thinking about making this journey since the disaster struck.
“It’s just my nature to want to go help in an emergency,” says Jacob, who is a sergeant with the Madera County Sheriff’s Office, serving the mountain area. “And when things just fall into place all at once, you just have to go with that.”
Things definitely had to fall into place for this to happen. Jacob had no passport, but with a call to the State Department, found help in expediting the process. He will need to drive to San Diego to get that document on Thursday, and then board a plane for China on Friday for the 33-hour trip.
After a 15-hour layover in China, he can only hope that the airport in Kathmandu will be operational.
“It’s been open, and it’s been closed; we’re just playing it by ear,” says Jacob, who plans to nap at the airport in China and hope for the best.
When his brother Sam put the call out for people to travel to Nepal, Jacob was already familiar with an ongoing mission in the impoverished country, through the work being done by a local church.
Sam Tallmon is the Senior Pastor at Calvary Chapel of the Sierras in North Fork, and Kory Nuñez is the Youth Director. The church was instrumental in the construction of the Calvary Chapel Bible College of Nepal, and Sam was already making plans to travel to Kathmandu to teach for a few weeks at the college when he received news of the earthquake. That changed the focus of their mission, but not their determination to be of service.
Sam and Kory flew out yesterday, and all three will be headed for the disaster zone with their bags packed full of tarps, paracord, gloves, duct tape and masks for the grim work ahead.
Though they don’t know exactly what they’ll be doing once they arrive, Jacob says they are willing and able-bodied.
“There are very few of us in the world who are really good at dealing with this kind of situation, and I’m one of them,” says Jacob, referencing his work as a deputy coroner. “If that’s where I’m needed, that’s where I’ll be. We’ll serve in any way we can, even if it’s just allowing other people to take a break or a nap, and we’ll step in and keep doing whatever they were doing.”
Some things they anticipate helping with are manual labor, clean up, water purification, feeding the hungry, sanitation and disease prevention.
“Unfortunately, with that many bodies, there’s going to be disease,” he says.
The three plan to stay until May 9, assuming their help is required that long.
“With any mission, especially with a rescue and relief mission, you keep in mind the Hippocratic Oath – you always want to be helpful,” says Jacob, “and when you stop being helpful, get out. Because now you’re a hindrance.”
Jacob is still on the job today, working right up until it’s time to leave. He’s also paying for this trip out of his own pocket, but friends and family have stepped up to help. A GoFundMe account has been set up to help defray the cost of what is sure to be a very expensive venture, especially on such late notice. Jacob says he has already used some of the donations to buy more tarps and other supplies to provide shelter for those who have lost their homes, and will purchase more in-country if funds and supplies are available.
All three of the Nepal travelers are extremely grateful for the financial assistance from the community.
“A government employee, a pastor, and a youth pastor – we’re not exactly millionaires!” says Jacob, who hopes his old Honda will hang in there on the trip to San Diego.
Though challenging, the financial realities and the time away from job and family are taking a back seat to the desire to be of service.
“When you know you’re supposed to do something, you darn well better do it,” says Jacob. “It’s great to sit in church, to read your bible, to pray and do nice things for people; all good things. But I don’t believe in coincidences, and when this many things fall into place, it’s real. I’m going to pursue this until I come to a brick wall I can’t overcome. I haven’t hit that brick wall, so here we go.”
To contribute to the fund for relief supplies for this trip, click here. Every dollar helps.