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UMCOR Bright Spots

IN TODAY'S ISSUE
March 29, 2007

Red Arrow-giftFamilies Rebuild from Damage from Tornadoes Spawned by Hurricane Katrina

Red Arrow-gift UMCOR Sager Brown Celebrates 140 Years of Ministry

Red Arrow-giftThis Week's Quote

Red Arrow-giftRecovery Stats

Red Arrow-gift Volunteers Leave Signed Reminders of Work… (Slide Show)

FAMILIES REBUILD FROM DAMAGE FROM TORNADOES SPAWNED BY HURRICANE KATRINA

By Susan J. Meister, Gulf Coast Communications

Mr. Willie has fond memories about helping his grandfather on their farm in Wiggins, Miss. The family grew watermelons, soybeans, and corn, and the farming lanes were lined with beautiful trees. But tornadoes spawned by Hurricane Katrina in August 2005 felled one of those oak trees which stood in front of Mr. Willie's home, splitting his house in two.

 Mr. Willie points to where an oak tree, felled by a tornado spawned by Hurricane Katrina, split his house in two.

Mr. Willie points to where an oak tree, felled by a tornado spawned by Hurricane Katrina, split his house in two.
Susan Meister/UMCOR

Wiggins is about 35 miles inland, north of Gulfport, in Stone County. When Mr. Willie and his family got word of the severity of the pending storm, they left for a relative's home that was "tree free." Katrina spawned 44 tornadoes, 11 in Mississippi. The Stone County office of the Mississippi United Methodist Katrina response is assisting families in the area to rebuild from wind and resulting water damage.

"Teresa was the one who really helped me," Mr. Willie said. Teresa is a case manager in the Stone County office. She has helped arrange the gutting of the home, a new roof, new electrical service, sheet rock, painting and trim. Mr. Willie is especially proud of the pretty peach color in their new living room.

Mr. Willie discusses the next step in the rebuilding process with case manager Teresa Berra. Susan Meister/UMCOR

Mr. Willie discusses the next step in the rebuilding process with case manager Teresa Berra.
Susan Meister/UMCOR

"That tree was on my house for almost 9 months," he explained. Because it was impossible to cover with a tarp, the house sustained considerable rain damage. He said it was such a relief when a team from New York got the roof back on the house.

Mr. Willie faced other challenges from the storm. Because the hospitals in the area were shut down, he had to travel back to Chicago for some serious medical procedures. "There wasn't even gas available," he exclaimed.

But the house is now taking shape. Mr. Willie is grateful to all the volunteers who have helped so far, including those from Georgia who sent gift cards for Christmas.

To help families along the Gulf Coast rebuild, contact the Mississippi United Methodist Katrina Response or Louisiana United Methodist Disaster Recovery Ministry.

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