Wednesday, September 07, 2005

News from a mini supply convoy

From a friend whose family was hard hit by Katrina --- Subject: Update on my family & Katrina Hurricane Friday night my neighbors Cammie & David Olney, Greg & Alicia Thibodeaux helped me and my friends Donna Calvert, Larry & Jennifer Toups load David’s suburban full of supplies and the bed of Larry’s double cab 4 wheel drive truck full of gas and diesel cans. David, Donna, Jennifer, Larry & I left LC at 4:00 am on Saturday. Our first stop was Hammond to check on David’s friend Charles Palumbo whose house was damaged tremendously. He and his family are living in 2 rooms of it that are not damaged and had supplies. We then headed back out and hit Biloxi about 10:15 am. We had no problems getting through but the devastation is just horrendous. We made it to my step dad, Bobby Starks, first where his house had little damage. He lost all the big trees in his yard and I stood in utter thanksgiving that none of them hit the house, it was unbelievable. Dad was really weary, he is 71 and the heat there is hardly bearable. David and Larry got a generator going for his air conditioner and we had also brought him a thermos of coffee. He had not had any coffee since Monday morning. The look on his face holding that cup of coffee was priceless. He has never once complained on the few calls he has gotten through to me, only talked about how many more there were to be rescued and needed food and water. The family business Stark’s contracting mainly does commercial building and they were using the large flatbed trucks to rescue people and equipment to clear roads. The trucks had run out of gas and were no longer able to run by the time we made it down. Those in the Starks family who were sick, young or injured were evacuated to different hospitals, homes up north. The only ones that remained in the area were the ones who can help to rebuild the infrastructure, Dad refused to leave, he is adamant that he will continue his job as supervisor and feels that within days the tanker of gas and diesel they ordered before the storm will come in and Starks will resume helping the community. We then went to my Aunt Margaret who was at my Cousin Kevin’s house one block off Hwy 90 on the beach and brought her supplies. From there we met up with my older sister Linda and Cousin Tom. I did not get to see the majority of my family as they were all looking for rubble piles to be able to salvage what they could from their homes. But this trip was to get in and bring supplies. My sister Cindy has a brick wall remaining on her house, Rachel has nothing but a few walls, several Uncles, Aunts and cousins have nothing left of their homes. When Uncle John went to check out his house on Tuesday morning, there was nothing left but in his yard except 45 - 50 drowned bodies. Of course they are getting no news, etc and had no idea how big the storm was or the issues in New Orleans, they just figured it was another Camille. We took very few pictures, it was just too hard to look at and the piles of rubble and wood and destruction everywhere began to just look the same. But the people, everyone you passed waved, smiled, and threw kisses. Every few blocks we saw electric companies from all over the nation -- Detroit, Ohio, Indiana, etc there working on putting up new power lines. National Guard was everywhere and they were having very little issues with looting. People were pulling together all over, neighbors checking on each other and Red Cross trucks all over passing out water and food. The spirit was awesome and the tone we will rebuild. They have a curfew of 6:00 pm and we needed to be out heading back home by 5:00 to not be stopped. We were like our own little supply convoy going from place to place dropping off supplies and giving a quick hug and heading out. The only ones we are not sure of status is my mother and 2 younger brothers. Both their houses are gone and we are hoping they evacuated but Red Cross said it could easily be weeks before we know if they are in shelter. Please continue to pray for all victims. Because many of you forwarded my emails, I have heard from people as far away as Alaska – God is so awesome! Words cannot express my thankfulness for the help, calls, and emails I have received from many of you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you all! I have the most terrific friends. Blessings, Sandy Sandy Hudson