When Dan O’Deens volunteered to help at Ground Zero after the September 11 attacks, he didn’t realize that God would use that experience to launch a new ministry.
O’Deens was pastor of the Gateway Grace Community Church in Parkesburg, Pa., at the time. Before arriving there in 1997 as a church planter/founding pastor, he had served as a youth pastor in Osceola, Ind., and as a Christian school administrator.
Along the way, he developed a passion for people who were overlooked and struggling. “I grew up in Cleveland,” O’Deens said. “So I’ve always rooted for the underdog.”
It was that mindset that motivated him to volunteer at Ground Zero following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. He worked first with the Salvation Army and then switched to the Red Cross, taking basic courses so he would be ready to help during a crisis.