The UMCOR Bright Spots
IN TODAY’S ISSUE
November 08, 2007
Volunteers Salvage Memories for Louisiana Homeowner
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VOLUNTEERS SALVAGE MEMORIES FOR LOUISIANA HOMEOWNER
By Susan J. Meister, Gulf Coast Communications
When Lake Charles-Southwest Recovery Station staff determined that Mr. Joseph’s home in Sulphur, Louisiana could not be saved, volunteers were asked to help take the house down. Before they did that, the volunteers packed everything that could be salvaged in his home. They gathered all the keepsakes from a china closet, including a jewelry box they found behind a dresser that belonged to Mr. Joseph’s late wife. Emotions ran high as the house started to come down.
Mr. Joseph stands in front of the steps and slab of all that is left of his family home in Sulphur, La.
The 82-year-old homeowner watched the demolition with tears in his eyes. One of the youngest members of the team, a nine-year-old, put his hand on Mr. Joseph’s shoulder and asked softly, “So, what was it like raising your family here?” Mr. Joseph told him the story about his family home of 50 years.
Case manager Venus DeJean suspects that the house was damaged beyond repair by one of the many tornadoes spawned by Hurricane Rita in September 2005. Mr. Joseph said that “the wind pulled the roof clean off and knocked all the trees down.” The resulting rains ruined the interior.
One of Many Communities Affected in Southwest Louisiana
Sulphur is about 40 miles north of the Gulf, off Interstate 10. Like many communities in southeast Texas and southwestern Louisiana, it suffered severe damage from Rita’s wind and rain. It is one of the many communities covered by the Lake Charles-Southwest Recovery Station, with five parishes including nearly 6,500 square miles. Site Manager Roxanne (Rocky) Landry wants to help as many on the waiting list as possible. “We need to help get houses clean and dry and safe,” she said. “Without some repairs, damage will continue.”
A map of the parishes covered by the Lake Charles –Southwest Recovery Station shows an area of nearly 6500 square miles.
Homeowner Thanks the Lord
Mr. Joseph couldn’t believe that so many nice people came from so far to help. He heaped praise on the Lake Charles station staff. He is living in a FEMA trailer now and will make a decision soon on whether he will rebuild or bring in a manufactured home.
“I survived with the help of the good Lord,” he said. “I saved a few things and met many wonderful people.”
To volunteer to help rebuild homes damaged by Hurricanes Rita and Katrina, 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
Alabama-West Florida Conference