Diakon Lutheran Social Ministries’ response to flooding in Maryland and Delaware in 2004 was not the first time the organization assisted in disasters. During the 1990s, both of the agencies that created Diakon—Tressler Lutheran Services and Lutheran Services Northeast—helped local communities devastated by natural disasters.

In 1996, Tressler responded on behalf of the national Lutheran Disaster Response to provide assistance and grants to victims of flash flooding in Pennsylvania and western Maryland. The flooding took lives and caused millions of dollars in damage. Tressler’s Office of Social Concerns coordinated agency relief efforts. Two years later, Lutheran Services Northeast responded in a variety of ways—ranging from Volunteer Home Care coordination of donations, relief supplies, and various volunteer efforts to Family Life Services debriefing sessions—when tornadoes ripped through five northeastern Pennsylvania counties, causing death and millions of dollars in destruction.