Online Story Contribution, Hurricane Digital Memory Bank

I was a volunteer with the Red Cross relief effort for Katrina during the time that Rita roared ashore. My specific job was as the contact person for shelters in the Jackson Mississippi area. I called them each day and was there to accept their calls for 12 hours a day. I was stationed in the HQ in Montgomery Alabama. The facility was housed in a closed SuperKmart. We had the blue light left along with lots of other leftovers from the former store. \r\n When Rita came ashore she took the worst possible track. She went straight through all of our shelters. We were under tornado threats and were forced to leave the HQ. So I contacted my shelters about a half hour before Rita was due to run them over. It was extremely spooky. I knew that in my shelter alone in the Jackson area there were about 500 people who had already fled from Katrinas wrath. I had tried to supply them with enough supplies for 3 days, as we doubted we could get anything through to them due to the road conditions. The hurricane hit and I lost all contact for 24 hours with my shelters. I consider them mine, because I knew the people in those shelters. I knew that there were medical conditions. I knew how many babies there were. How many elderly people there were. If you read statistics about the Shelters I am the one who collected the information in its raw form. It was scary when I could not get ahold of my people. \r\n Most of the shelter in Jackson were run by wonderful Black Baptist Churches, so I had a nice relationship going with the preachers who were taking these people in. The only contact I had for awhile was on Sattelite phone that a Red Cross guy had. He was going through the region to find what happened to our shelters. Luckily the only real damage was done to a staff shelter. A tornado tore of the roof. We found places for our people to sleep. the oddest one was in a closed asylum. When I finally got to talk to my people, I found horror stories. Tornados were dancing in the streets. Wind, trees, and everything else not nailed down were flying. I thank ever God that has been worshipped that no one I was responsible for was hurt. \r\n This will be on the memories that I will always look back on. I will be at the hurricanes next year, but I doubt I will ever do a three hurricane duty again. Katrina, Rita, and Wilma.

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Citation

James Campbell, “Online Story Contribution, Hurricane Digital Memory Bank,” Hurricane Digital Memory Bank, accessed July 21, 2018, http://hurricanearchive.org/items/show/612.