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Scientology Volunteer Ministers Honored for Their Help in the Aftermath of Last Year’s Devastating Floods

A year after catastrophic floods submerged entire cities in Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region, the city of Forlì honored volunteers from across the nation who helped it recover from the devastating disaster.

On the anniversary of the May 2023 Emilia-Romagna floods, Forlì Mayor Gian Luca Zattini held an event to express his city’s gratitude to the many volunteers who responded to help the region recover from the unprecedented disaster. Proud of their contribution, the Volunteer Ministers of the Scientology Churches of Italy were among those honored by the mayor and officials of several cities in the province of Forlì-Cesena. 

Forlì Mayor Gian Luca Zattini with Scientology Volunteer Ministers who responded to the Emiglia Romana disaster
Forlì Mayor Gian Luca Zattini with some of the Scientology Volunteer Ministers who returned to the city to be honored for their help after last year’s devastating floods

In May 2023, rainfall inundated the region. Rivers overflowed, triggering landslides across Emilia-Romagna, displacing some 1,000 residents. Homes, businesses and agricultural land across the region suffered severe water damage, contributing to an estimated €8.8 billion in damage and economic loss. The one bright spot was the outpouring of help from the voluntary disaster response community. 

Flood response is arduous but vital work: digging homes and businesses out of the mud, removing debris, shoring up damaged walls, removing and drying out carpets and furniture, disposing of flooring and walls contaminated with mold. 

For weeks, Volunteer Ministers served in the region, taking on these tasks and distributing food, water and supplies. But they also provided the unique spiritual assistance they are known for.

Volunteer Ministers are trained to administer assists, techniques developed by Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard that help people overcome the emotional and spiritual factors in stress and trauma. They used these techniques to help victims overcome fear, anguish, and hopelessness and restore peace of mind, making it easier for those who lost so much to deal with immediate challenges and plan for the future.

After the celebration to honor those who responded to the disaster in 2023, the Volunteer Ministers were invited to set up their signature yellow tents in Piazza Saffi, the main plaza of the city, to introduce residents and those attending the celebration from nearby cities to the Scientology Tools for Life. These are 19 free online courses that provide Scientology technology for bettering life’s challenges, including relationship difficulties and overcoming barriers to setting and achieving goals.

The Scientology Volunteer Ministers program is a religious social service, developed in the mid-1970s. In an essay announcing the program, Mr. Hubbard wrote: “If one does not like the crime, cruelty, injustice and violence of this society, he can do something about it. He can become a Volunteer Minister and help civilize it, bring it conscience and kindness and love and freedom from travail by instilling into it trust, decency, honesty and tolerance.”

Their motto is no matter the circumstances, “Something can be done about it.”

Inspired by Scientology ecclesiastical leader Mr. David Miscavige, who called on Scientologists to redouble their efforts to aid their fellow man in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York, Volunteer Ministers of Italy formed Pro.Civi.Co.S, the Civil Defense Volunteers of the Scientology Community, which was entered into the registry of the National Department of Civil Defense the following year. Over the past two decades, Pro.Civi.Co.S and the Volunteer Ministers of Italy have responded to disasters at home and abroad, including the L’Aquila and Amatrice earthquakes in Italy, the South Asian tsunami of 2004, the Haiti earthquake of 2010, the 2019 Albania earthquake, and the 2020 Croatia earthquake.

Throughout the pandemic, they established and ran help lines, provided assistance to healthcare workers, saw to the needs of their communities, and sanitized churches, mosques, and other houses of worship, making it possible for them to safely serve their congregations. Their work is featured in the new feature-length film Operation: Do Something About It on the Scientology Network.

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