Chopping firewood might not be everybody’s idea of a good time, but for Gary Cate, it’s something he genuinely enjoys.
Chainsaws definitely make his job easier, but chopping wood provides such a source of enjoyment for Cate that he and his wife heat their house with a wood fire when the weather gets cold.
“It’s just something that I’ve done my whole life,” he said. “I enjoy that.”
And through the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board Disaster Relief’s chainsaw crew, Cate found a good ministry fit. The result has been a relationship that has lasted more than two decades.
Finding his place
“I found a place that I can serve the Lord and do what I like to do,” he said.
Cate, a member of Sharon Baptist Church in Knoxville, joined about a dozen other men from the Knoxville area on a trip to Hammond, La.
The group helped with chainsaw and recovery efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.
Cate serves as the “blue hat,” or team leader, for the group, joking that he just happened by that role because he had two trees fall in the correct direction.
“We’ve been very wet the last few days (thanks to Tropical Storm Nicholas),” Cate said Sept. 16. “But we’ve been out working in the rain and mud anyways. We came all the way from Knoxville, so we’re going to get in as much work as we can. That’s just part of it.”
When disaster strikes
Cate has been working with Disaster Relief since 2000, serving in more than 25 states the past 21 years.
An electrician by trade, Cate has a gracious boss who allows him to use vacation time and work more flexibly when disasters strike.
The Tennessee team is working out of the Incident Command Center at Woodland Park Baptist Church in Hammond, La.
“This whole chainsaw thing is just a scam,” he joked.
“We came to share about Jesus Christ and the chainsaw work is just to get us in the door.”