UMCOR / Our Work / Disaster Response / Ongoing / Katrina & Rita / Bright Spots / Archives 2007 / 20070301

UMCOR Bright Spots

IN TODAY'S ISSUE
March 01, 2007

Red Arrow-giftNow I'm Doing My Part

Red Arrow-giftHispanic Ministries Embody "Accompaniment"

Red Arrow-giftThis Week's Quote

Red Arrow-giftRecovery Stats

Red Arrow-gift"God is So Good!" (Slide Show)

"NOW I'M DOING MY PART"

By Susan J. Meister, Gulf Coast Communications

Traveling west along I-10 between downtown New Orleans and Slidell, La., the widespread destruction from the wind and water of Hurricane Katrina is still obvious over a year after the storm. Ruined homes, apartments, businesses, and shopping malls are sad reminders of the extent of the devastation and the enormous task of rebuilding.

Mr. Darrell (right) enjoyed students from Colgate University working on his home during their winter break. Susan Meister/UMCOR

Mr. Darrell (right) enjoyed students from Colgate University working on his home during their winter break.
Susan Meister/UMCOR

But Mr. Darrell, who lives just south of the highway in New Orleans East, "has plans," as he watches eighteen students from Colgate University work on applying joint compound, known as mud, to fresh drywall.

"I am starting to see daylight," he exclaimed. "God protects and sent people to help me and I've got to give back." Mr. Darrell is receiving rebuilding assistance from Jake McGlothin and the staff at the Westbank Station of the Louisiana United Methodist Disaster Recovery Ministry.

Water from the storm surge sat in New Orleans East longer than in any other area. Mr. Darrell's home is one of the few being repaired in the midst of shells of homes that look as if Katrina hit last week.

"You know, my friends told me, nobody gonna do nothin' for free," Mr. Darrell said. "But Jake showed concern and compassion. I feel blessed. If you're good to people, people will be good to you."

 Officials couldn't get to Mr. Darrell's neighborhood until October 10, 42 days after Hurricane Katrina roared through the region on August 29, 2005. Susan Meister/UMCOR

Officials couldn't get to Mr. Darrell's neighborhood until October 10, 42 days after Hurricane Katrina roared through the region on August 29, 2005.
Susan Meister/UMCOR

Volunteer teams rebuild

Mr. Darrell recalls the team from Boston who hung all the sheet rock, the team from Cleveland who did the mudding and left him a signed tool box, and the team of "young kids" from Detroit who really didn't know what they were doing but were eager to learn.

A graduate of Louisiana State University who taught auto body repair at the local community college for fifteen years, Mr. Darrell enjoyed his contact with the young people. He ran his own collision repair shop, which he lost in the storm, and recently had back surgery. But he was moving around remarkably well, sharing laughs with the Colgate students as they mudded the walls.

Julie, a staff leader of the Colgate group, explained that the students had applied for the New Orleans work through the university's Center for Outreach Volunteerism and Education. They paid a nominal amount to participate, and Colgate alumni underwrite the rest of the costs. The group found the UMCOR Louisiana ministry on an Internet search. Some were on their second trips to the area.

"These kids have a great attitude," Mr. Darrell emphasized. "They are anxious to help people."

"I'm not depressed," he continued. "God did his part and now I'm doing my part. I refuse to let anything get me down."

The Westbank and other 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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