Nashville man who dedicated life to helping others dies at 91

Nashville man who dedicated life to helping others dies at 91 (Image 1)

The man who founded and ran the Churches of Christ Disaster Relief died Tuesday at the age of 91.

Joe Dudney directed the relief effort that sent aid to victims of 434 natural disasters including Hurricane Katrina and tornadoes in Joplin, Missouri and Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

The agency also sent relief efforts to rescue workers following the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001.

Dudney, who kept a map on his wall with a push pin of every disaster he helped, was heavily involved in the organization and stayed in his office until June 6 when his health rapidly declined.

He suffered from both leukemia and several bouts of pneumonia.

His successor, Mike Lewis, said they have big shoes to fill, but they’re going to do it.

“I never met anyone else who cares for those who are hurting the way Joe did,” Lewis said. “This is what kept Joe Dudney going, and he was never ready to get out of it.”

Lewis was voted in as executive director of the relief center by board members on Monday.

Ralph Coles, now the assistant executive director, said Dudney left the ministry with a clear direction of how he wanted it to continue.

“He’s been teaching us every day. He’s been our example, and he’s been a great example,” he said.

It is estimated that the center and volunteers have donated over $150 million in food and other necessities over the past 24 years.

Funeral services for Joe Dudney will be Friday at the Brentwood Church of Christ.

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