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Preacher works to save souls, but is ready to save lives

*Story tonight on KFDM at 6. Hear from the pastor and members of his congregation.

Photo by Andrea Whitney

Photo of Pastor Charles Burchett of First Baptist Church in Kirbyville

By Mike Lout

KIRBYVILLE ( and Rayburn Broadcasting Company )-- The world has changed in the 50 plus years the First Baptist Church of Kirbyville has stood at the corner of Main and Barrow Avenue. In that time has come a world of communications, personal computers, manned space travel and more. 

Tune in to KFDM News at 6 PM this evening to hear from the preacher and church members about concealed weapons in church.

However, change has also included a rise in crime, violence and terrorism; along with events that were once unheard of. The most recent of these malicious attacks being an incident in South Carolina, a shooting that left nine dead in its wake.

To meet the needs of his people the rise in crime and those events has led the Pastor of the First Baptist Church in Kirbyville, Rev. Charles Burchett, to have two goals; one of saving souls and one to protect and save lives.

Over the last few years Burchett, who is an avid supporter of the 2nd Amendment and the Right to Bare Arms, has instituted a program where law abiding persons who are licensed to carry weapons are not only allowed to bring firearms into the church but are also encouraged to do so.

In addition, Burchett, who is a licensed firearms instructor, also frequently holds classes in the education, handling and shooting of guns, which allows members of his church to obtain their Texas Concealed Carry Permit, which is administered by the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Burchett, says the program began when he and other members of the church began to worry about the safety of their church after learning about tragic incidents that had occurred in different parts of the nation. He says that even though many of his church members are armed, he hopes that they never have to use their weapons.

"We must remember that church is not here to hurt people but to help them," Burchett said. "However, we must remember that there are sheep and also wolves, and it is our duty to do what we can to save the sheep from the wolves."

In addition to encouraging licensed gun owners to bring their weapons to worship services, Burchett says that that the group has an active security calendar, which guarantees that two people at minimum, will be on duty at each service, watching who enters the sanctuary, and who are prepared to take whatever action might be necessary to ensure the safety of members of the church.

The security team is not on hand to intimidate but only to serve as a protective buffer against a sometimes cruel and violent world. Burchett said the duty makes members of the congregation feel safe as the worship and listen to his message from God.

Burchett, who grew up in a small town in the Dallas-Fort Worth Area, says he can be described as a conservative in many ways. He says he was raised in a very conservative church that shaped his beliefs of political, social and fiscal responsibility.

Those conservative views became even further entrenched when at a young age, Burchett visited a war-torn Europe and saw first hand what had resulted from hate and fascism.

Over the years he has served in numerous capacities in both church organizations and political groups. In addition to serving as pastor, Burchett also serves as Secretary of the Sabine-Neches Baptist Area Committee and is also involved in emergency management. 

He has also served as Vice Chairman of the Texas Advisory Committee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights and was a member of the 2004 Electoral College of the United States.

As if to let Burchett know that he and his church members will be safe within the chapel for at least one more service, beams of light in spectacular colors streamed down from a stained glass window in the early 1950's house of worship, as Burchett, who sat in a front pew with his Bible and fake pistol used in firearms training by his side said in a meaningful and thoughtful tone, 

"It is hard to imagine why anyone would want to come here and threaten anyone, because there is nothing of any value here." He went on to say, "We would give whatever we have to anyone, but you never know."

As the world continues to change minute by minute, second by second, in good ways and in bad, Burchett will continue his plight to keep his congregation safe against the wolves that can often find their way to the most  peaceful of doors. 

As they gather once again, for peaceful and serene worship, the parishioners rest just a little easier, knowing that Burchett and his security team are dedicated not only to each's faith, but to keeping them safe as well.

Coming up on KFDM News at 6PM
Some of the stories we are working on for 6pm on KFDM:

Tonight, a pistol-carrying pastor is encouraging his SE Texas congregation to carry concealed handguns to church.  
Firefighters, hazmat crews and cleanup crews respond to a dangerous chemical spill in downtown Beaumont.
Staying hydrated is important in heat such as today -- it is doubly more important to firefighters and first responders.
Union Pacific crews were in town today filming a message for you.
Temperatures came near the 100-degree mark today in Southeast Texas.  Greg Bostwick has his updated forecast and look toward the weekend.

Lake Charles man convicted in Nigerian mail fraud scheme

TYLER (U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE) – A 38-year-old Lake Charles, Louisiana, man has been convicted in a Nigerian mail fraud scheme in the Eastern District of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney John M. Bales today.


Heesham Broussard, also known as Sudan, was found guilty by a jury for conspiracy to commit mail fraud, two counts of mail fraud, and two counts of aggravated identity theft following a four day trial before U.S. District Judge Michael H. Schneider.


According to information presented in court, Broussard participated in a Nigerian-based mail fraud scheme that distributed counterfeit postal money orders and checks.  The scheme targeted victims throughout the United States.  

Victims of the scheme were led to believe that they were working as mystery shoppers.  Broussard served as a re-shipper or dispatcher of counterfeit postal money orders and checks.  As part of the scheme, he sent packages to more than 600 intended victims and sent counterfeit items bearing a face value of more than $1 million.  Broussard was indicted by a federal grand jury on Jan. 22, 2014.


Broussard’s co-conspirators, Olumide Lalemi, also known as Paul Smith, the Nigerian organizer of the scheme, and Victoria Williams, a re-shipper, have pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud.  Lalemi and Williams will appear before Judge Schneider for sentencing.  At sentencing, both defendants face up to 20 years in federal prison.


Broussard faces up to 20 years in federal prison for the conspiracy conviction, 20 years for each mail fraud conviction, and two years for each aggravated identity theft conviction.  A sentencing date has not been sent. 


The case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).  This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Nathaniel C. Kummerfeld and D. Ryan Locker.


Any individuals with knowledge of these or other mail fraud violations are encouraged to contact the Homeland Security Investigations Tip Line at 866-DHS-2-ICE (866-347-2423) or the U.S. Postal Inspection Service Tip Line at 877-876-2455.

With one-in-1-million chance at living - Cami meets her lifesaver

Salt Lake City, Utah — (KUTV) Cami Carver is standing in front of baggage claim at Terminal One of Salt Lake International Airport. She's nine years old, bright-eyed, and bursting with excitement. 

That's because at any second a man is about to walk into view who literally saved her life. She's never met him in person before. But coursing through her body is what he unselfishly gave her nearly two years ago.

Cami's life hinged on a needle in a haystack. She found it in the body of a perfect stranger, a humble deli manager in Beaumont, Texas. It was his bone marrow that matched so perfectly to Cami that he is her identical DNA twin. And it was in his body that came the cure to save her life.

For Joe Tolin it was a simple cheek swab two years ago during a registry drive at his restaurant. One of his employees' daughter needed a bone marrow transplant. Joe was at work the day of the drive and joined fellow employees to be tested. 

Never could he imagine the news he would get from the bone marrow registry organization just a few weeks later. There was a little girl in Utah dying from Leukemia and he was a perfect match to save her life. Joe is one of 11-Million people on that registry and the only perfect match to be had.

For Joe, who was expecting his second child, there was no question about what he would do. "There was this cure and it was waiting, " says Joe. "And it was built into me to be used as an instrument of healing."

He traveled to Houston and went through the process of extracting bone marrow from his hip. It was a little painful, but nothing compared to the chemotherapy Cami was going through at the same time in Salt Lake City.

Jump forward to 2015 and Joe Tolin is walking off a plane with his wife and two children. He's greeted by an elated and effervescent Cami. It's his first time in Utah and the first time he's ever seen mountains. 

It's also the first time he has ever met the little girl he saved. This is a trip arranged to join two families in person who have already been joined by a transfusion.

For Cami's parents, Chelsea and Pat Carver, this meeting is exciting and terrifying in a way. "What do you say to the man who literally saved your daughter's life?" says Pat.

But this reunion of sorts is perfect. These strangers are instant family. Not only are Joe and Cami genetically matched, their families are instant friends. The Carvers are off to show Joe and his family the sights around Utah and spend quality time sharing their lives. This is the beginning of an obvious lifelong friendship.

Today, Cami is an energetic little girl who is out of her hospital bed, cancer free, and enjoying life. She is a fitting example of how the bone marrow transplant registry works.

And Joe? In his own humble style and with gentle smile on his face hesays "even an average Joe can make a difference or save a life."

You can also be the person to save a life. Being part of the bone marrow registry is just a simple cheek swab. You can have a free kit shipped to your house so you can join the millions of others ready to save a life.

Order that free test kit at And you can follow Cami's story on Facebook at .

Toledo Bend drowning victim identified, autopsy ordered

TOLEDO BEND ( and Rayburn Broadcasting Company) -- Texas Parks & Wildlife says an investigation is underway after a drowning victim was recovered from Toledo Bend Reservoir Tuesday evening. 

Game Warden Doug Williams says it happened at about 8:30 near the Shawnee Shores subdivision, which is located in far northeast Sabine County.

According to Williams, the initial call was to investigate a stranded boat. However, Williams said another boater found a body floating in the water.

Williams later identified the victim as 66-year-old Kenneth Roberts, who is believed to have been a Sabine County resident.

According to Williams, it appears that Roberts fell out of his boat. However, Williams said the investigation is continuing.

Roberts was pronounced dead at the scene by Sabine County Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace Jamie Brasher, and he has ordered an autopsy.

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