Tad Agoglia

M.Div. ‘03

"A CNN hero & Kingdom servant."

As a Divinity student, Tad was studying to become a pastor so that he could, among many things, help shepherd people through the messes and disasters of life. Instead, God was preparing him to help hurting people weather the literal storms of life. And in 2008, CNN honored Tad as a hero in the Top Ten Heroes "Community Crusade" category. Tad is considered a hero, because not only does he arrive and rescue, but he does so free of charge as he self-funds the entire operation—as he has done when hurricanes batter the coast, when tornadoes hit in Kansas or when wildfires sweep across southern California.

As the founder of The First Response Team, Tad works with his four-man cleanup crew to provide emergency aid to disaster victims by whatever means necessary. Whether it is using a crane to open up the road for emergency service trucks, navigating his hovercraft through floods for water rescues and repairs, or using one of his many other special high-tech gadgets to raid through destruction, he does whatever he can to help others. His main concern is to get the injured the care they need and the trapped to safety. He also lives a nomadic lifestyle in order to get to rescue scenes as soon as a storm clears.

When asked how he feels about Divinity graduates working outside the church, Tad is all for the trend. “So many people won’t step into a church; they think they’re not good enough and not acceptable. We need to go out there. We need to be examples of our faith through our lives, through our love…not only with our words. [We are here] to persevere hand-in-hand with those who have lost everything, sharing in the hope that we can overcome.”

*Tad’s story has been adapted from Cheryl McKay’s article entitled, “A Divine Trend?” (Christian Leader Magazine. Spring/Summer 2008, 21-23).