Training With Chainsaws on Seminary Campus


“We’re all about safety, whether we’re cutting trees or training people on chainsaws,” said John Pollman, trainer and evaluator from the Northwest Disaster Relief in Randle, Washington. Pollman and a group of volunteer tree cutters spent five days on the campus of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary in mid-April, training a group from the Northern California Disaster Relief.

Pollman has been educating others and cutting trees for 24 years, and this trip he and his seven-member crew trained eight people from the Northern California disaster relief group how to trim and clear trees, using chainsaws.

The fifty-year-old Seminary has many trees which are coming to the end of their lives. As the trees become hazardous, they provide the perfect training environment for this group, who respond to natural disasters throughout the United States and Haiti.

Why does Pollman do this type of volunteer work? “The focus of disaster is to reach people for Jesus Christ. It’s all about bringing people to Jesus Christ,” said Pollman. Recalling an incident after a recent storm, Pollman noted how the people he helped had no idea what to with a fallen tree in their yard. “I drove up and offered to help. I cleared their tree and then prayed with them afterwards.”

Pollman and both of the teams stayed in the Seminary’s dorms during the five-day training session. “Golden Gate is really taking care of us. We’re grateful.”  

Golden Gate Seminary Facilities Director Robert Dvorak expressed thanks to the tree cutters. “They do a professional job, and save the Seminary thousands of dollars. We’re glad to be able to offer them hospitality in exchange for their services.”

The Seminary website provides information for anyone who is interested in volunteering at any of the five campuses.
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