A Volunteer's Tale: Wendy Frost
I returned Friday from an altogether short visit to Pearlington. My "group" just ended up being my myself and my fifteen yr old daughter Mary. We stocked shelf's, and minded the "store". We also did the LEAP home deliveries and that was really rewarding.Unfortunately I got sick on Wednesday and we ended up leaving and not doing as much as I would have liked, but I will return!! My heart is in Pearlington.
My daughter made an interesting observation. She asked if Pearlington had ever really been a "town". Did it have houses, stores and schools? I assured her that it had indeed, and if you look hard you can still see reminders. The vacant spaces between the trees, the stone and dusty drives that lead to the aluminum boxes our people now call home and the school gym now known as the "Pearl-mart". She said that it looked like an overgrown campground, and the people were on a never-ending camping trip. So sad, yet true.
Except for the bright bits of light as churches and individuals work to rebuild Pearlington, one house at a time. One house at a time, one good deed at a time, we will get it done. The Lord isn't finished with us yet, and neither are the people of Pearlington!
A Volunteer's Tale: Joel Adams
Joel Adams is a local boy, born and raised in Pearlington. He has been a volunteer at the Resource Center for the past three months. He is willing to stay here as long as it takes. He keeps busy taking work orders from the locals. After inputting the data into the computer, he also makes himself available to the other volunteers for any of their needs.
Joel is recuperating from injuries received from a car accident one month prior to Katrina. He was released from the hospital just in time to evacuate the storm. Suffering from a broken hip, broken knee and dislocated jaw, he was set back three months on getting back on with his life.
Katrina changed the course of his life, like it did for so many others. He has graduated from living in his van, to his "mobile condo" (FEMA trailer). His house was demolished and he has nothing in the works yet for rebuilding.
He wouldn't give up living here though, connected to his "neighbors, not by blood, but by something greater."
Thank you, Joel, for all you do.
Written by Nancy Semple, Ontario, Canada - on the ground in Pearlington
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 " EarleMt. Pleasant, SCThis 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: http://www.dreamschoolinternational.com/pdf/Jake.pdf . 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