Spring 2021 Magazine

Softball legend Jennie Finch describes 'devastation' all around her, many others after Hurricane Laura

Former U.S. Olympic softball star Jennie Finch posted a passionate plea for help on Instagram on Sunday, describing the “devastation” all around her in Sulphur, Louisiana. Her town and much of the state, as well as parts of east Texas, were crushed by Hurricane Laura, the Category 4 hurricane which made landfall Thursday.

Gov. John Bel Edwards said Sunday at a news conference that restoring power to many areas will be a “long and difficult process.” Laura was the strongest storm to hit Louisiana since 1856, as sustained winds of 150 mph knocked down utility poles all across the state.

“We’re going to be working really, really hard on the power outages, on the water systems, on the housing,” he said. “But none of this is going to be easy. It’s not going to happen as quickly as most people would like for sure.”

Finch confirmed as much in her video, in which she fought through tears nearly the entire time.

“Just everywhere you look there’s devastation,” she said from her car in Sulphur, which is about 12 miles west of Lake Charles, 80 miles west of Lafayette and 135 miles east of Houston. “… Pictures don’t do it justice.”

Finch said she’s grateful that her family’s home is fine, and they have water from a well on their property. But her heart breaks for the thousands of people without homes or water or power.

“I’m just thankful we have life and we’re able to help. So that’s what we’re trying to do, just try to help salvage what we can,” said Finch, who sliced her finger and needed stitches after helping people clean out their homes.

She said churches and many organizations can’t help because they don’t have water or power. But as she learns of organizations that can directly help their community, she will post about them on her social media channels.

“I needed to use my platform to help people in the community, but I didn’t even know how or where to begin, so I guess this is it,” Finch said.

Finch, who as a dominant pitcher helped the U.S. Olympic softball team to a gold medal in 2004 and a silver in 2008, is a longtime faithful follower of Jesus. And she expressed hope in Him despite the destruction around her.

“But God will see us through. He will, for sure. You can already just see Him move, through the darkness, just by people being so selfless and helping out,” she said. She specifically thanked the first responders and medical teams, highlighting the “many people just being the hands and feet of Jesus throughout this.”

Please join us in prayer for those impacted by Hurricane Laura.

“Just please pray,” Finch said in her video, “and if you can, give.”

RELATED STORIES:
NEW PODCAST: Jennie Finch, USA Olympic Gold Medal Softball Pitcher
Jennie Finch says God is ‘so much more than’ her Olympic gold medal
Match Made in Heaven: Mal Stokes trusts God in grappling with loss of twin sister Mia