About Us

In the spring of 2004, the founder of Hilltop Rescue had a dream.  He dreamed of homes destroyed, fires, miles of devastation and loss of life.  That night, Hilltop Rescue & Relief was conceived as a ministry to provide relief for those suffering from natural disasters.  Everyday life pressed in, and these plans were put aside.  Fast forward to August 2005.  While on a church mission trip, ideas for Hilltop Rescue were discussed, and it was decided that organizing and planning would begin for this disaster relief ministry.  The following week, Hurricane Katrina hit.

Overnight, what had been an idea on paper became a handful of people camping out on the floor in the dry part of a home that had been flooded in Slidell, Louisiana.  Living without electricity, driving to other towns for containers of gas, these volunteers began clearing trees off of roads with chainsaws.  Word spread through churches, the internet and word of mouth and other volunteers began to trickle in.  The trickle grew, and a base camp was established on the grounds of this home, with tents and campers for sleeping, showers, bathrooms and a laundry facility set up to accommodate 70 volunteers.

To quote a famous movie line, “If you build it, they will come.”  And they came—individuals and groups from different churches or no church, from universities and colleges, from high schools.  All were welcomed.  By the grace of God, they came from all across the country, from Alaska and from Canada.  God moved the hearts of people from 48 states and several foreign countries to come and muck out houses, clear fallen trees and do the hardest physical work of their lives.  Many came back a second time and a third time and a fourth time.  They came by car, bus, airplane and hitchhiking.  By March 2006, a larger facility was urgently needed to house more volunteers.

Once again, God provided.  The St. Bernard Parish School Board offered Hilltop Rescue the use of the C. F. Rowley Elementary School building, which had a first floor that had been flooded and gutted and a second floor that was in good condition.  In one week’s time, electricity and water were hooked up, shower rooms were built, a cafeteria was prepared and 350 people came to work in the first week it was open.

For just over a year, work went on for six days a week.  In October 2006, a transition was made to work camps occurring 1-2 times per month, when all volunteers are concentrated into a 10 day period.  By early January 2007, Hilltop Rescue had to pack up our assets and turn the Rowley building back over to the St. Bernard Parish School Board.  June 2007 saw us setting up tents in the city park of Bayou La Batre, AL–a small, low income fishing village on the Alabama Gulf coast.  We spent the summer working with volunteers to do cleanup and repair work there.  In November 2007, Hilltop Rescue responded to the wildfires in southern California.  Working with the Ramona church of Christ, we ran a small volunteer camp out of their church building.  Volunteers did everything from shoveling and sifting ashes to cutting up steel beams, cutting up trees, rebuilding sheds and fences and laying wattle for erosion control to help those whose homes and properties had burned.  Early summer of 2008 brought severe flooding in the midwest.  Partnering the the Burlington (IA) church of Christ, volunteers were able to once again muck out houses, cut up trees, demolish sheds and minister to victims of natural disaster.

Hilltop Rescue has given at least 26,000 days of volunteer labor to the people of Slidell, St. Bernard Parish and New Orleans as well as disaster victims in Bayou La Batre, AL, San Diego County, CA, and rural communities in Iowa and Illinois.  Well over 1,650 homeowners have been touched by strangers who came to help bear their burdens.  But what was envisioned as a ministry to those stricken by natural disaster has become just as much a ministry to the 4,000+ volunteers who were moved to help.  We at Hilltop Rescue believe that a generation of American youth has been changed by bearing witness to the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and that the fire for service to their fellow man is still glowing years later.

At every step of this journey, we give God the credit.  He has provided what was needed all along the way—whether it was people, material things, or operating expenses.  We strive always to do His will and to show the face of Jesus to those we serve.  Please pray that we continue to do so as we move forward into the future.

Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

James 2:15-17