JOAVA GOOD: HOOKED ON HELPING FOR 40 YEARS
How one devoted Volunteer Minister—and Deputy Director of Churches of Scientology Disaster Response—first got her start and all she’s done since.
Joava Good’s first experience as a Volunteer Minister began when, driving home, she came upon a man in a motorcycle wreck with a “baseball-sized hole” in his forehead and half unconscious.
She pulled over, stuffed the hole with cloth to stop the bleeding, and delivered a locational assist, directing the man’s attention off the pain and onto his environment. By the time the ambulance arrived he was completely conscious.
“Are you a doctor?” he asked Good.
“No. I’m a Scientologist,” she told him.
“I can’t thank you enough,” he said. “You saved my life.”
“After that,” says Good, “I was completed hooked. There is no greater gift than to be able to truly help someone during times of great stress, and Volunteer Minister training has given me the ability to do that without even thinking.”
Good, who runs a travel agency with her husband in Draper, Utah, has been a dedicated Volunteer Minister (VM) for nearly four decades.
In 2005, after taking a logistics role in the VM response to Hurricane Katrina, she was hooked on that as well. Today, more than 25 disasters later, she serves as the Deputy National Director of the Churches of Scientology Disaster Response—a VM organization she calls her “total passion”—as well as president of the Utah VOAD (Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster) and Chair of the National VOAD Communications Committee.
When the massive earthquake rocked Haiti in 2010, Good spent six weeks at Volunteer Minister International headquarters in Los Angeles, using her travel agency contacts to secure planes and crew. That crew transported over 700 French-speaking doctors and nurses—a team pulled together by Volunteer Ministers—to Haiti.
“There was only one runway available in Port-au-Prince and it was being used by the military,” she says. “It took me 18 hours on the phone to get permission for us to land. We were the first and only volunteer organization allowed to do so for three weeks.”
One year later, Good ran VM operations in Alabama for four months after the devastating Tuscaloosa-Birmingham tornado hit.
One experience there will always stick with her.
“There is no greater gift than to be able to truly help someone during times of great stress, and Volunteer Minister training has given me the ability to do that without even thinking.”
Driving through a Birmingham suburb, Good saw an old man sitting in his driveway weeping and stopped to help him. He was an 85-year-old African-American who had worked for Sears his entire life. He was retired and had no insurance, with half of his house flattened by the tornado and the other half beyond repair. His wife had passed away a few months prior.
“I can’t find her dress,” he told Good, desperately. It was a memento of her that he cherished.
Searching, Good found the closet half torn off, and her team found the dress.
They stayed in the area for five days, pulling together the man’s things—documents, pictures, clothes—before his house was marked to be torn down. “He was so grateful,” she says.
A few days later, driving through the neighborhood, Good saw the man’s family standing outside with him and stopped to meet them.
“Are you Joava?” they asked.
When she confirmed it, they each gave her a long hug.
“Thank you for helping our dad,” one said. “What can we do for you?”
“Nothing,” she replied. “I’m here to help.”
Volunteer Ministers are on call across the globe and around the clock to respond to any and every disaster. Your contribution will fund volunteer travel as well as food, water, tents and medical supplies for disaster victims.