Whitney Alexander. Photo by Collin Richie.

In Character: Whitney Alexander

CONSIDERING, he is a people mover, a people motivator and a people responder. He cultivates relationships and is always there in times of need. When the floodwaters were rising, he waded for blocks through the slush to check on an elderly friend. As soon as the waters receded, he put plans into place and people into motion to help the victims. He networks, he coordinates, he perseveres.

CONSIDERING, this New Orleans native helped his family who lost everything after Hurricane Katrina and remembers well the challenge and the effort it took to rebuild. For years. “When Katrina happened, I rallied troops every weekend for demolition, and I was there almost every day. That’s what I know to do.”

CONSIDERING, he took his experience from Katrina and parlayed it into Capital Area flood relief. After days and evenings spent gutting house after house—and after handling the arrangements of others—he realized that he needed more manpower. He partnered with a friend to get skilled workers from New Orleans to help—then he got up at 4:30 every morning to drive to the Crescent City to get these workers and deliver them to homes to help. “At the time, everyone in Baton Rouge was helping everyone else. Everyone had a need. We needed outside help.”

CONSIDERING, this associate pastor of missions at First Presbyterian Church is encouraged by the support that the churches of our area have had on the people of our city. And he’s been delighted by the help that churches outside of our region have shown—specifically in manpower. “God has called us to love other people in tangible ways.”

CONSIDERING, he has gone on 36 mission trips since his first in 2003 and he leaves soon on a medical mission trip to Beirut, Lebanon—one in which he’s organized American and Egyptian physicians. The trip has been planned for months but he’s torn about leaving the city that he loves behind, even for a week.

CONSIDERING, he holds hands, he prays throughout the day with the homeowners, and he gets to work. “The hardest part is that the people affected are so fragile, trying to know what to hold onto. Meanwhile, the clock is ticking while the mold starts to grow. It will take months to really gut everything that needs gutting.”

CONSIDERING, he used social media to reach out to others throughout the country for help. He put such heart and soul into the relief effort that no one can decline any request he makes for assistance in the task. “Everything is about relationships, we all know that.”

CONSIDERING, he recognizes that he will be doing this hands-on work well into the fall. Even when others have ceased to help, he will still be going. It’s what he knows to do. He has a heart for the people and a passion to share the love of God. “It’s heartbreaking. I’ve seen more in the last week than I’ve ever cared to see.”

Publisher and Editor Ashley Gordon nominates a person of character from the Baton Rouge community each month. [email protected]