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UMCOR Bright Spots

IN TODAY'S ISSUE
January 18, 2007

Red Arrow-giftHurricane Rita Survivors Rebuild With Help From Homeless Man
Red Arrow-giftMississippians Overcome Wind And Water Damage
Red Arrow-giftThis Week's Quote
Red Arrow-giftRecovery Stats
Red Arrow-giftI Am Grateful (Slide Show)

HURRICANE RITA SURVIVORS REBUILD WITH HELP FROM HOMELESS MAN

By Susan J. Meister, Gulf Coast Communications

When Miss Anna Mae and her husband lost their home in Cameron Parish to the wind and water of Hurricane Rita, they didn't want to rebuild a new home with an eight-foot elevation. So they decided to relocate further inland, closer to her children in Sulphur, Calcasieu Parish, La., on Route 27, just northwest of Lake Charles and about 50 miles north of the Gulf of Mexico.

 When Miss Anna Mae's husband looks out of his new bedroom window, he will see a unique pole flying the American flag. Photo: Susan Meister/UMCOR

When Miss Anna Mae's husband looks out of his new bedroom window, he will see a unique pole flying the American flag.
Susan Meister/UMCOR

Miss Anna Mae asked her son to come by on Memorial Day weekend, 2005, to help put on her new tin roof. On Saturday, he brought along a fellow from Vinton who wanted to help. On Sunday, this same fellow - Joey - hitchhiked back to Sulphur to continue working.

"He told me he needed a place to live," Miss Anna Mae said, "and 'I will help you if you will help me. I am homeless, I have no place to go, and I'm a carpenter.'

"It gave me chills," she said.

So the family found an old pop-up camper and set it up in the back yard for Joey, and he, family members and volunteers proceeded with the building process.

Miss Anna Mae set up a pop-up camper for Joey in their back yard, saying that

Miss Anna Mae set up a pop-up camper for Joey in their back yard, saying that "they could not have rebuilt without his help."
Susan Meister/UMCOR




Lake Charles Station sends volunteer teams

The Lake Charles Station of the Louisiana United Methodist Disaster Recovery Ministry got involved in the project when the family was referred to them by Louisiana Family Recovery Corporation because they needed construction assistance. "We have helped the family with volunteer labor, materials, and referrals to other long term recovery organizations for appliances," explained case manager Tonia Pence. "We sent four teams for a total of 360 hours of construction help."

"We've got a long list…and then there's Joey"

Miss Anna Mae proudly shows features of the house that will make it easier for her husband, Mr. Elton, to enjoy the new space. A former mail carrier, Mr. Elton is battling several health problems and faces additional surgery. The master bedroom has its own porch, with a view of the yard and a brand new flag pole. His wife is sure that he will enjoy the view, and appreciate the flag since he is a Navy veteran.

"This storm was awful," Miss Anna Mae said. "People ask me if I think of things I've lost and I say, 'All the time!' My pictures, my Bible….

"But we've got a long, long list of family and friends and volunteers who have helped us. And then there's Joey - he will have a place in my heart forever. I call him 'my angel Joey' for all the help he gave us."

"But Joey told us it is hard to live with wings," she laughed. As the home neared completion, Joey left the area.

The stations of the Louisiana United Methodist Disaster Recovery Ministry are helping families rebuild after the devastation of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. To volunteer or for more information, contact the Louisiana United Methodist Disaster Recovery Ministry.

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For more on the United Methodist recovery work visit these web sites:
UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief)
UM News Service
Mississippi Conference
Louisiana Conference
Texas Conference
Alabama-West Florida Conference