By Neydja Petithomme

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    ASHEVILLE, North Carolina (WLOS) — Rebuilding from the deadly Greenfield, Iowa, tornado that devastated the area on Tuesday, May 21, won’t just involve homes and businesses; there will also be a need for spiritual rebuilding.

News 13 spoke with Frank Chapman, an American Red Cross disaster spiritual care supervisor, before he departed from Asheville Regional Airport Saturday morning, May 25, to head to Iowa where an EF4 tornado was responsible for taking the lives of five people and injuring many others.

Chapman is taking his time to volunteer with the American Red Cross, where he will offer spiritual guidance and to help those cope with trauma, grief and the overwhelming emotion following the tornado.

“These folks had the most horrific experience of their life,” Chapman said Saturday. “Some have lost loved ones, and we’re there to simply facilitate that resiliency to get them passed what we’re doing. Oftentimes, most survivors and, sometimes, even folks from the Red Cross don’t understand what spiritual care really does. We’re not there to bring our faith with us.”

Chapman said he plans to stay in Iowa for the next two to three weeks, as he and others will focus on becoming a source of comfort and guidance for others.

“We listen more than we speak. Sometimes, what you do is you just go where people need to. We don’t often ask what happens, because that can create a second injury, re-traumatization,” Chapman explained. “Some people want to talk about what’s happened, but some people aren’t ready to do that. In some situation, we just sit there and listen.”

Chapman added that during these traumatic moments, volunteers are often also impacted. For him, journaling or writing helps him cope through a situation.

“We take care of each other. I journal, that helps me. Other people deal with trauma. There’s a real thing about transfer of trauma, when you hear this day after day,” he said.

Chapman hopes that during his time in Iowa, he can help restore hope to those who need it the most.

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