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UMCOR Bright Spots

October 11, 2007

Red Arrow-giftLake Charles—Southwest Recovery Statio Needs More Volunteers
Red Arrow-gift“Now We Say ‘Camille Who?’”
Red Arrow-giftThis Week's Quote
Red Arrow-giftRecovery Stats
Red Arrow-giftRaining Outside & Inside...(slide show)


By Susan J. Meister, Gulf Coast Communications

Case manager Chris Ewing set an appointment for a home visit with Miss Tressie in Cameron, La, to determine if the Lake Charles – Southwest Recovery Station could assist with mold problems in her elevated mobile home. Ewing estimates that the homeowner signed up for possible assistance as early as February or March 2006.

Residents of Cameron Parish, La., are required to elevate their homes twelve feet about sea level.

Residents of Cameron Parish, La., are required to elevate their homes twelve feet about sea level.
Susan J. Meister/UMCOR

The homeowner toured the home with Ewing, pointing out ongoing problems with mold in the walls and kitchen cabinets. Ewing said that site manager Kevin Hodge would be out sometime soon to evaluate, but he couldn’t make any kind of commitment on when volunteer groups might be available to help fix the problems.

Nearly 2000 cases still open

After Hurricane Rita devastated the Gulf Coast in southeastern Texas and southwestern Louisiana in September 2005, a variety of groups helped take basic data from affected homeowners in the area. Although the Lake Charles Station has begun to make an impact on the rebuilding process in the 6500 square mile, four parish area, there are still nearly 2000 open cases.

Hurricane Rita came on the heels of Katrina in the fall of 2005. Much attention has been given to the Katrina rebuilding effort, often causing Rita survivors to feel overlooked. As Tom Hazelwood, executive director for disaster response in the US, explains, “At any other time, because of its widespread destruction, Rita would have received time and attention.”

 Kevin Hodge, Site Manage, helps coordinate repairs and rebuilding.

Kevin Hodge, Site Manage, helps coordinate repairs and rebuilding.
Susan J. Meister/UMCOR

Roxanne (Rocky) Landry, construction supervisor, says simply, “We need more volunteers.” She explained that with the number of properties that were damaged by the storm which continue to deteriorate, the station needs to focus on doing what’s needed to get houses dry, clean and safe. “We need all types of skills,” she continued, “and we proceed one step at a time.”

Yvonne Dayries, Louisiana Conference manager of volunteers, said that many of the volunteers that call the office want to come to New Orleans. “We try to get groups to go to Lake Charles, and we try to match groups to the greatest need,” she said. Dayries mentioned that the recent August “Takin’ It To The Streets” event helped raise awareness of the continuing need, especially among churches in the Lake Charles area.

For case manager Ewing, seeing homeowners putting forth the effort to rebuild makes it all worthwhile. Landry adds, “We want to welcome volunteers and help them feel that they have accomplished something while they are here.”

To volunteer to help rebuild homes damaged by Hurricane Rita, contact the 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