More from Biloxi
It's been another satisfying, if exhausting, day of work. I was back , with my Lutheran Crew at the policeman's house to work on sheet rock (see yesterday's post for more). I heard the Hurricane Katrina story from what is now my crew's house. The Biloxi Police Department deemed the house to be high enough to be quite safe in the storm, as water had never been near that high before. To be safe in the high winds, the Mom and son went inland to relatives but four patrolmen stayed in the house to go on duty during the hurricane. Water overtook them quickly so that by the time the men knew water was coming into the house, they were soon waist deep in it. The police department had sent a 2.5-ton truck, but it couldn't get through. The officers were told to swim for it.
Chris, the patrolman who related the story, was the one unable to reach the house by truck and listened on the radio as the men had to be told, "You're on your own. You'll have to swim for it." He feared that was the last he would hear of the four officers. It clearly effects Chris still to tell the story. But 2.5 hours later the four men contacted the Police Department having swum through the storm surge to safety.
I worked at the house for 7 hours today mudding and then sanding sheetrock. Then I met up with a group of Episcopalians from All Saints' Church in Frederick, Maryland and the Rev. Harold Roberts of Church of the Redeemer here in Biloxi. Harold took us on a tour of the ruins of his church buildings, which were a total loss along with his home next door. Then he drove us around, showing how widespread the damage to the area remains, and will remain for some time. He said that 50% of his congregations completely lost their homes, 25% suffered severe damage, and 25% are feeling serious survivors guilt for making it through with their houses in tact. But with 140 people on Sunday before Ktarina and about 108 now as they worship in a school, the church is doing well even if the buildings were destroyed.
I head back now in time for Wednesday evening church and the start of a new Bible Study on Genesis 1-10. The need here is so great. The scope is so large. And yet a difference is being made day at a time.
What I keep hearing from tired and sore volunteers who have traveled to work here is how much they feel they have gained from working here. I know what they mean. I have only been here two days, and yet I've been honored to be a part of a group putting the sweat equity in to show the people on the Gulf Coast that they are not alone.
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor + King of Peace Episcopal Church
Note: The photos really go better with yesterday's post as they show the took shed I arrived to in the fog yesterday, a plate discovered as I returned another to a neighbor's house, and Robert from LaCrosse, Wisconsin, who drove 20 hours to get sheetrock mud in his eye.