As reported in KAT 6, my LW and I spent a weekend (not the one just completed but the one before) in North Miss. with our daughter, and attended a football game. On Sunday, we ran from tornados – the remnants of Hurricane Rita. We were staying in a mobile home and as the weather worsened we left for our friend’s house. Meanwhile, a twister touched down on the college campus, wrecking their cafeteria, two blocks from where my daughter was huddled in the basement of her dorm. Over 350 tornado warnings were issued that day in the area we were in! Hurricanes, tornados,….what’s next? I got a note from friends in California asking me NOT TO COME! Thankfully no one was killed by all the bad storms.
The days continue to all run together. The last 4 or 5 especially. My LW and I were awakened at 3:30 Sat morning by the phone – our college attending middle child called to tell us a young man whom she had been seeing (for a short time) had been killed – hit by a drunk driver as he crossed the street. My daughter had talked to him on the phone an hour before. Funeral is today. My heart breaks for his family, and of course for my child who is devestated.
Two of my three vehicles broke down this week. I was able to afford repairs on one, and after picking it up I had a blow out on the Interstate. A very nice policeman stopped to help (I discovered I did not have a jack in the trunk). The spare tire, which was in the trunk when I bought this piece of *** car, did NOT FIT! The policeman took me to a tire store and I was able to get something to put on the car. (There are LOTS of tire problems down here as you can imagine, we are still running over debris, including LOTS of roofing nails – their are shingles EVERYWHERE). I thank Gulfport policeman Dave for his generous assistance.
Our relief center is serving over 1200 people a day, and the free medical clinic between 170 and 250 a day. We thought the need would have slowed by now, but it is instead increasing. Our volunteer force really dwindles on weekends, but we had a full house last night (around 100 people). We need them all.
We are 5 weeks post-storm. I sense much more despair now than before. The adrenalin rush no longer carries folks through the days. As they face the enormous, long, impossible tasks in front of them, and struggle with insurance adjusters and FEMA and Red Cross (has their ever been a charity with so much funding and so incapable of using it?) their patience is exhausted. We go through trucks and trucks of food supplies, because people without jobs are afraid to spend money on groceries. It’s getting harder…..
Yet as 130 of us gathered for church in the school gym on Sunday, their were smiles, laughs, and a lot of tears. I have been asked to recreate my sermon, I will let you know where that will be. The Palm Pilot I used to use to record them was a storm victim, so I don’t have a sound file. It was from the heart but I need to try and type up some recollection of it. I was interviewed on BBC radio after the service and the reporter was very moved and asked me to repeat much of my words in the interview. They didn’t come from me, that’s all I know.