I live in the Northern Virginia area and was taken back by the damage Hurricane Katrina left along the Gulf. In response to the devastation, our church youth director gathered together a group of adults and youth that went down to Mississippi in November 2005 to help in the rebuilding process. In February 2006, I too joined my church and went to Biloxi and Gulfport, Mississippi on their second mission trip. \r\nWe were given assignments and worked through Presbyterian Disaster Assistance with a large group of volunteers from all over the country. They had built a small camp on church grounds, where we slept in tents, had running water, and were given a warm breakfast every morning. I was assigned to the tree removal crew, which I was shocked by because first off I had absolutely no experience in that area and secondly, if you saw my size, I thought I was going to be of no help as I don\'t have that kind of strength. Turns out I had more strength than I knew, and I definitely had on the job training. It was so sad to be removing large trees that had broken through the tops of people\'s houses and left them helpless, as they had no resources to do anything about it. It was really interesting to hear the different stories about the storm. \r\nWe were taken on a tour along the coast and I couldn\'t believe what I saw. All the gas stations and restaurants that had been beachfront were nowhere in sight, all that was left were the frames of the street signs. One house across the street from the beach was still standing, however the entire inside had been ripped out. Graveyards were torn up and many of them were empty. On one street a casino barge had floated up over all the buildings and landed on a Christian Learning Center about a block away. \r\nOn my last day there, we were assigned to clear a foundation where a home once stood so that FEMA could put a trailer on it. We couldn\'t even find the foundation we were supposed to clear, there were no house numbers anywhere and everything was just rubble. We felt horrible about it, but there was nothing to determine one foundation from the next. \r\nMy church has sent 5 mission trips down to Mississippi since the storm hit and 48 people from our church have contributed in the effort. It was an amazing experience for me and I hope that I will be able to take advantage of the opportunity again, as it will take many years to restore the Gulf.\r\n


“[Untitled],” Hurricane Digital Memory Bank, accessed June 16, 2024, https://hurricanearchive.org/items/show/26910.