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CCA: Scott was an angel
In his life, Scott Deahl battled drugs, alcohol, losing his home and losing his family; however, he turned his life around and now in death is being called an angel.
"On behalf of CCA and the board of directors I would like to extend our heartfelt sorrow for the tragic loss of Scott Deahl. Scott was one of our Angels," said Jeffery Price, chairman of the Christian Community Action's board of directors. "We at CCA call everyone we service an angel, those that God has asked us to serve. Scott is an example of one of the many lives our organization has touched. Scott's life was not transformed because of the housing we assisted him with. Scott's life was transformed because of the love of Christ he experienced at CCA. It was Christ's love that transformed and changed Scott's life. CCA was just the vessel God chose to use."
Deahl died Sunday night at 6:20 at Medical Center of Plano after his family chose to remove him from life support. Deahl had a 12-year-old daughter and two sisters.
"I was there with them, along with other CCA staff members," said Rob Batts, president and CEO of CCA. "We ask that you please lift the Deahl family up in prayer that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will strengthen and sustain them during this difficult time of grieving, and that they will come to know the peace and comfort that only Jesus can bring."
On Friday, the CCA-owned duplex Deahl lived in exploded due to a gas leak. Jennifer Ryan, Atmos spokesperson, said crews were working to repair a four-inch gas line about 50 or 60 feet from the duplex when the explosion occurred. Deahl was thrown from his home.
Ron Batts, president and CEO of CCA, said Deahl's family wanted the public to know and understand how much CCA helped Deahl and how much the organization helps others.
"One of the things the family wanted to make sure you know and understand, every year at CCA we are privileged and honored to serve here at CCA over 12,000 people like Scott by offering a hand up to them, not a hand out," Batts said. "If they're sick, we try to bring healing to them through our clinic. If they're hungry, we try to feed them from our pantry. If they need help with a job, we work with them to develop their skills. And if they need help with their bills, we do that too. But the most important thing we do is to offer them help in their spiritual life in partnership with the churches in our community."
Batts shared a statement Deahl wrote in May 2012.
"Hi my name is Scott, I was put on SSD back in 2004 for mental and lower back problems. I was living in my own trailer at the time here in Lewisville with my family. A year or so later I lost my family due to drugs and alcohol. I had to get a roommate to pay my bills there. During all this time I was getting help from CCA with food and bills. About 2 years ago my roommate had to move out to take care of his father. I was not able to pay my bills so I put my home up for sale. It did not sell, so I lost it. I was going to be living in my car until CCA was kind enough to put me in their housing. While I was living here I was isolating myself, watching TV about SSD, worrying about losing my benefits and all the things that have happened to me. On Feb. 28, 2012 I tried to take my life. On one hand I cut 4 or 5 times. The other hand 8 or 9 times. The blood kept stopping so after 3 hours I called the ambulance. While in the hospital I was joined by 2 people in prayer. This is part of my story. Now I'm trying to walk the path with God by doing some volunteer work with CCA, hoping to find my way in life."
Jean Rich lived directly across the street from Deahl. She said at the time of the explosion she was at the doctor's office, but her preacher called to tell he about the explosion.
"I went to my neighborhood, but they wouldn't let anyone in," Rich said. "I know Scott believed in God. I am a firm believer that this was God's plan."
Rich said just one week before his death, Deahl knocked on her door. The two spent the afternoon talking and went to church together.
"I think he's better off with God," Rich said. "When I heard about his injuries, I didn't know what to pray for."
Deahl's family released a statement Monday morning.
"As Scott walked with Jesus, he was able to share the love of Christ that had changed his own life with many of the people he interacted with each day - His neighbors, CCA staff, his church family at Lewisville Bible Church - and we're sure many more, even from his story being shared today. We are grateful for the amazing work CCA does in this community every day, and we are especially grateful for the support they provided to Scott when he needed help," the family's statement read. "And finally, we are deeply grateful for the impeccable care Scott received at the Medical Center of Lewisville and the Medical Center of Plano. As sad as we are to have lost Scott so suddenly in this way, these are the things we want people to know and remember about him.
We rejoice in the fact that He is now with the Lord. This gives us great peace and carries us through this time."
Questions surrounding Friday's explosion continue to be asked. Residents and community members want to know: why wasn't the entire area evacuated? Why didn't CCA know about the gas leak? Batts wouldn't comment about the explosion or gas leak. He instead referred all questions to the authorities.
"Our concern has never been about property - we've only been concerned about Scott and other residents," Batts said.
Batts said CCA did everything it could Friday, but they were stopped at Henrietta Street, which is a couple streets away form the duplex, when they attempted to get near the area.
On Sunday, CCA officials met with residents who were evacuated from the area. Batts said the families have been put up in area hotels while the investigation continues.
"We will not take the residents back to their homes until we're sure that every place is safe," Batts said. "We've put them in hotels for the time being and offered them counseling since some of them were outside at the time of the explosion and witnessed everything."
Batts said there are six different families who were evacuated and one with a small child.
Jeffery Price, chairman of the CCA board of directors, said CCA had no knowledge of the gas leak until after the explosion. He also said he wouldn't speak to concerns brought up over protocol. He said those questions were for other authorities.
"Our focus has been on Scott," Price said. "Scripture tells us to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. Scott has gone from being one of CCA's angels to being surrounded by a heavenly host of angels in heaven."
Barbara Womble is a patron of CCA's food pantry. She said CCA should have had a warning about the gas leak.
"Lewisville is a great place to live, but I feel like the authorities should have let CCA know about the gas leak," Womble said.
Rich said she didn't think CCA could have done anything else to prevent Deahl's death.
"I think CCA does everything in the world for us," Rich said. "If they knew about the gas leak, they would have done anything to protect the residents. Some people say they're Christian, but CCA asks like Christians."
CCA's mission is "In the name of Jesus Christ, Christian Community Action ministers to the poor by providing comprehensive services that alleviate suffering, bring hope and change lives.
"For more than 35 years CCA has been transforming lives by feeding, sheltering, educating and training individuals within our local area. Scott was one of those angels we served. He is an example of one of the many lives our organization has touched," Price said. "Scott's life was not transformed because of the housing we assisted him with. Scott's life was transformed because of the love of Christ he experienced at CCA. It was Christ's love that transformed and changed Scott's life. CCA was just the vessel God chose to use."