Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Seeing a Rainbow within Hurricane Katrina

I write this blog with a heavy heart because today is the 2-year anniversary of hurricane Katrina -- one of the costliest ($40 bill+) and deadliest (1,000+ people, not to mention lots of animals too) hurricanes in the history of the United States.

I was fortunate enough to go on an Alternative Break trip my senior year of college in which I spent a week helping with disaster relief a few months after the mess occurred (photo by yours truly). My team was able to help to rebuild a garden served by the developmentally disabled at the ARC-GNO, among other things. The people we met and everything we saw in that week touched us all deeply and reminded us of what incredibly lucky people we all are.

So, what POSITIVE things have been done since the disaster struck? A little investigating helps me to get to the bottom of this...

Not only have many lives been restored, but thousands of volunteers and families have come together as a result. After a bit of digging, I came across this awesome blog developed by a NOLA Web site called "Touched by an Angel." I recommend you all take a look to see some of the incredible, positive things that have come as a result of the tragedy: http://blog.nola.com/touchedbyanangel/

Here's one story that speaks volumes to me:
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Soles for the soul
Posted by Mike Gamble August 29, 2007 2:20AM
My story is one of compassion and generosity. My wife Alison and I spent two weeks in Destin, Fl. in Sept. 2005. We were put up by FEMA at a small motel on Hwy. 98. We had breakfast most mornings at the Destin Church of Christ, just a few blocks away.
Several members donated their time and talents every morning to cook and serve us a wonderful hot meal. On our last morning there we were asked if we needed any clothing, shoes, toiletries, etc.
I had evacuated Lakeview with only the pair of sandals I was wearing, so I asked if there were any size 9-1/2 shoes available. We were taken to a storage room with many shelves of mens and ladies shoes separated by size.
I found a pair of relatively new Sperry Topsiders that were my size, and asked if I could have them. I was told that, yes they were now mine. I was also told that they belonged to a church member named Tom (I forget his last name).
When I asked how in the world she knew who donated these particular shoes, she related this story. At service a few Sundays prior to our leaving she was asking members as they left the church if they had any size 9-1/2 shoes for donation (they had run out of that size).
When she asked Tom he took off his shoes and gave them to her right there on the spot. He then walked to his car in his stocking feet and drove home. I still choke up when I think of his generosity.
I wore those shoes for several weeks and finally got around to buying a new pair. I have those shoes in my closet and some day would like to personally return them to Tom. They still have a lot of life left in them!
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Maybe things aren't quite perfect in NOLA and may never be, but something did come of this mess: HOPE for a better tomorrow.

Thanks to Mike for sharing his story and making us all realize how small acts of kindness can result in a big change in a person's perspective on life.

(NOTE: This blog is dedicated to my dear friend Sarah, my AB team and of course, Ms. Jane our favorite NOLA person!)

1 comment:

Terren said...

Hey Lauren, hope all is well. Things here in New Orleans are getting better but many of the locals don't believe it will ever be where it was pre-Katrina. All we can do is keep helping in any way we can. Thanks for keeping the city in your thoughts! Trust me, they appreciate it here!