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Local pastor shares stories of Japan, relief efforts

By Scott Harvey

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/ketr/local-ketr-963503.mp3

Commerce – A Texas native, now working in Commerce, shares his experiences upon assisting the victims of tsunami-stricken Japan.

Dr. John La Noue has been working with Texas Baptist Men's disaster relief for the past 40 years. La Noue says that of all his experiences over that time, Japan may be the worst he's seen, considering how developed the country was.

He describes in one image of how a row of pine trees that had been severed from their trunks by flood waters acted as weapons.

"On the shore line they'd planted pine trees as a wind break. And when the wave came in it broke them off, about three feet above the ground, and used those trees as missiles and went down through town, going through houses," said La Noue.

He also recited some of the tsunami stories as described to him by Japanese residents. One La Noue recalled involved a husband and wife who attempted to get their car in order to transport victims away from incoming flood waters.

"When they went to get the car, the people are screaming, 'it's behind you, it's behind you!' And it [the tsunami] hit them, took the car and the parents away. A lot of people were watching them. They found her mother but they haven't found the father yet. It's just that kind of horrible thing. You saw it coming but just couldn't stop it."

Now in Commerce, La Noue is working to provide water filters that will remove a majority of potential radioactive material from the water supply. Donations toward the creation of the filters can be made through the First Baptist Church in Commerce.

View photos taken by Dr. La Noue in Japan at http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=645076&id=627955159

Hear Scott Harvey's full interview with Dr. La Noue above, which aired Friday on The Lead.