The Rev. Franklin Graham, president of the humanitarian organization Samaritan’s Purse, announced Tuesday a staff member was medically evacuated after being diagnosed with COVID-19.
Graham, son of the late evangelist Billy Graham, posted a photo of himself flying back from Azerbaijan, where the staff member was located.
“I’m headed back from Azerbaijan, where we flew to medically evacuate one of our Samaritan’s Purse staff who had come down with coronavirus, quarantined, and was needing additional medical care,” he wrote. “We thank God that he is stable and everyone else on the team is okay.”
Samaritan’s Purse, the humanitarian arm of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, gained nationwide attention in April, when the charity group set up an emergency field hospital in Central Park in New York City.
In total, the makeshift tent hospital served more than 130 patients diagnosed with COVID-19.
Graham and Samaritan’s Purse faced a bit of backlash from some on the left due to the faith-based aid organization’s adherence to a biblical understanding of marriage as a union between one man and one woman. Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio even said he would send some of his staff over to “monitor” Samaritan’s Purse as its doctors and nurses cared for sick patients.
“We don’t believe this is the time or place to wage this debate,” Graham said in a statement issued at the time. “Samaritan’s Purse is a decidedly Christian private relief organization, funded almost entirely by individuals around the world who share our passion for providing aid to victims of war, disease, disaster, poverty, famine, or persecution — and doing so in Jesus’ name.”
The Samaritan’s Purse field hospital closed down in early May.