An era has ended on the coast of Mississippi. The United Methodist Katrina Recovery crews have closed the last camp to receive volunteers. It is with a deep sense of gratitude that we mark this event. Thank you to all the teams that came down to restore our homes and our hope. Thank you to all who pitched in, when our world was in chaos, to offer the hospitality that was needed to make their efforts possible. Thank you to all those who gave their time, their talents and their donations and helped restore us to where we are today. In the words overheard from many of our neighbors, "if it wasn't for the churches, I don't think we would have made it through this!" In appreciation of your hospitality almost every team who came down would tell us as they left for home, "we came down here to help you, but we feel like we are going home with a better blessing than we left behind."
The blessing continues because we are left with an infrastructure that will enable us to respond to the next disaster. In the past, we have had some very good response procedures written after an event, but by the time a new disaster comes they were lost in a drawer somewhere. This time we would like to try something new. Instead of developing a procedure we hope to build a team that will be organized like a volunteer fire department. This team will meet to develop plans, to train and to care for the equipment. We can also work together to provide a better response when we get an opportunity to help those who have helped us when they have a disaster in their communities.
There will be an initial organization meeting at Camp Faith on Turan Road, just east of new Highway 67 in Saucier, Mississippi on Saturday, June 28 at 9:00 a.m. Please invite everyone who is interested in disaster response to join us for this meeting. We will have hamburgers and hot dogs. Our primary objective for this meeting is to get a sense of the gifts and graces of those who want to take part so that we can organize the team.
Rev. David Cumbest, Disaster Coordinator