Ramalon the Hero

January 6, 2014

by Ron Orcajada, Member of a Samaritan’s Purse Disaster Assistance Response Team

Ron Orcajada, Member of a Samaritan’s Purse Disaster Assistance Response Team, reflects on how Samaritan's Purse provides assistance to victims of disaster in the Philippines.

Ramalon is a hero. When a typhoon menaced his town of New Bataan in the Philippines, the 18-year-old and his 10 family members huddled inside their home for safety. But without warning, the river swelled and a devastating mudslide swept away Ramalon’s home.

The house began to crumble as it moved down the current of water, rock, mud, and debris.

At first, Ramalon’s 10-year-old brother clung to his grandparents for safety—until they passed him to Ramalon. It was up to the older brother to fight the current and make it to shore. With courage and strength, Ramalon saved his brother’s life.

But he couldn’t save the other 9 members of his family, who died in the mudslide.

I didn’t meet Ramalon until the typhoon had passed, when members of our Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) arrived to provide emergency relief. Luckily, Ramalon had called extended family, and they were on their way to pick up the two lone survivors.

Had I called Ramalon a hero, he would have deflected the praise. He’d have said, “I’m just an older brother, doing what an older brother should do.”

But standing in the wreckage of New Bataan, I knew that Ramalon had risked his life to save a life.

Did you know that hundreds of thousands of people like Ramalon are devastated by disasters every year? Often, there is no warning and little help.

That’s why Samaritan’s Purse rushes to respond. In 2013, we provided assistance to victims of disaster in countries as diverse as the Philippines, Nicaragua, Indonesia, and Canada. From providing emergency food and water supplies, to shelter from the elements, we are serving struggling people in Jesus’ Name.

You can support people like Ramalon, too. Learn more about how you can help in the midst of disaster.