Sharing Pearlington

A subsidiary Blog of our Main Blog, located at and presenting words and images of Pearlington. Sharing the series: "Focus On..." * "Back Home Again" * "A Volunteer's Tale" and other human interest stories.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

A Volunteer's Tale - Jake Earle

I work for the Charleston Water System, the utility that supplies water and sewer service to Charleston South Carolina. When Hurricane Katrina struck August 29, it was apparent this was a natural disaster of unprecedented magnitude in the US. I was anxious to do something. I literally paced the floor at times wondering what I could do. I checked into volunteering with the Red Cross, learning that you must sign up for training courses that filled up quickly. At that time, I hadn’t learned of my own church denomination’s Disaster Response teams, but they require advance training. I resolved to go ahead and sign up for training, and waited impatiently.

After the storm, I was anxious to go and render assistance in some way. I contacted the Red Cross, learning that they had a waiting list for their required training program. So I resolved to sign up, and wait. Shortly thereafter, my employer sent out a call for volunteers to go and assess drinking water needs in affected areas. I made sure I was at the front of that line. I became leader of one of four 2-man teams that assessed the Mississippi coast, and areas surrounding New Orleans.

The next 10 days were one of the most amazing experiences of my life.

I made it into Bay St. Louis on September 16. One or two residents there wondered how they were doing "out there in Pearlington", so we made our way to them the next day. The Charles B. Murphy School was in the initial stages of being transformed into the relief center by the people from Florida Hazmat, and we discovered and planned the recovery of the school’’s well. From our assessments on this trip Water Missions International planned the well-recovery program.

I made a second trip as a Charleston Water employee to help get the well-recovery program started. Then I made 4 more trips as a private citizen, taking week long "vacations" to build storage sheds, repair wells, help families with insurance claims, and whatever else I could do. My time was pretty much split between Pearlington, and Lakeshore/Waveland/Bay St. Louis. I met Jean Larroux, originally from Bay St. Louis, but living in Memphis at the time, where he was a pastor at a Presbyterian church, and have had some involvement in his move back to Bay St. Louis to start Lagniappe Presbyterian Church.

John "Jake " Earle
Mt. Pleasant, SC

This is the barest abbreviation of Jake Earle's story, which is a fascinating history of many elements of the early recovery that most of us never saw or even heard about. Check the whole story at: . I have added Jake's name - and a link to his full story - on the main Pearlington Blog. If ever a man deserved to be a part of C.O.D.R.A., it's Jake. He holds a place of honor among the volunteers of Pearlington. - Jon


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