Sunday, May 28, 2006


HANDS is a 501 (c) 3 that is funded solely through the generous donations of foundations, corporations, churches, and individuals. If you would like to make a contribution to HANDS’ relief efforts,

please contact our distribution center at 601-957-0094.
Make checks payable to:

P.O. Box 16449
Jackson, MS 39236

HANDS, Helping Americans Needing Disaster Support, is a Mississippi faith-based non-profit founded in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. HANDS’ mission is to help rebuild, recover, renew, and restore the individuals, families, and communities devastated by Katrina and other disasters. HANDS is adapting to the changing needs during the different stages of recovery, including the distribution of supplies and clothing, coordinating cleaning and debris removal, and partnering individual families with churches and communities groups to assist in the recovery process.

Dear Friends:

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, we have seen the horrific television footage. We have all
struggled with a sense of helplessness at the devastation and number of families left in need. I thank each and every one of you that have taken part in the recovery efforts through sending supplies, money, or volunteering your time. Without your support, the relief efforts would have suffered greatly. However, there is much more work to be done. The recovery process is just beginning. Some of you have toured the coast and seen the devastation first-hand. For those who have not, the destruction is indescribable.

Approximately 70,000 homes on the Mississippi Gulf Coast were completely destroyed, and thousands more were damaged by wind, trees, and water. While the physical destruction has been staggering, the hope and faith of the people affected has been greatly strained. Each passing day our neighbors on the coast see what you and I may catch as a glimpse hidden on the news. We believe God has raised up HANDS to bring the hope of Christ to the region through the physical rebuilding as well as emotional and spiritual support.

While this is sobering news to hear eight months post Katrina, the Mississippi,Faith-based nonprofit, HANDS (Helping Americans Needing Disaster Support), offers a brighter vision for the future.

The goal of HANDS is “to rebuild the Coast one family at a time” using a new initiative called the Family Connection Program. HANDS has gathered data on the needs of over 1,500 families, or approximately 6,300 individuals, from the devastated region, including Biloxi, Gulfport, Waveland, Pearlington, and Pass Christian. There are far too many needs to list in this letter, but none are greater than their need for a renewed spirit of hope. In the early days after the storm, many people placed their hope in their insurance companies, the government, and the nation, assuming that these groups would be able to provide enough support to help them rebuild. However, the harsh reality is that many people have gone back to their normal routines, offers of assistance have dwindled, and many Coastal residents have begun experiencing
widespread depression as they face their bleak future. We believe Jesus has called us to love our
neighbor during this time of need and the Family Connection Program is a vehicle to do just that.

The Family Connection Program offers you, your family, your church, or your business an
opportunity to take a personal hand in rebuilding the Coast. Each HANDS Sponsor Group is assigned one family, and is asked to commit one full year to developing a relationship with the family and addressing their emotional needs. Pray for them, Care for them and Share with them in their time of need. After becoming “intimately” involved in the family’s life, if there are physical or financial needs that you feel led to address, HANDS’ encourages you to do so. Each family in the Family Connection Program shares similar emotional needs, but the financial needs vary from family to family. Using detailed research data, HANDS can match each sponsor group with a family based upon the sponsor’s anticipated time and available resources.

For more information on the Family Connection Program, contact HANDS at 877-426-3703 or 601-957-0094. You can also visit their web site at

Through the Family Connection Program, HANDS is making a profound impact in the lives of many people, and I encourage you to become a part.

As Americans, we can find no greater way to promote the general welfare of our nation and our
people than a program such as this. The largest natural disaster in the history of our nation is upon us and now is the time for each of us to make a personal difference and exhibit the passion Christ has placed in our hearts to Love our Neighbor as ourselves.


Sunday, May 14, 2006

One House At A Time
1/15 Kris set this up on their website:

Pearlington Contact:
Glenn Locklin - 615.496.6981

Volunteer Contact: Kris Locklin -

12/14 - From a Previous OHAAT Volunteer who just returned from a trip to P-ton...
Suzanne Rester Watson and I had a great meeting with Leslie Eaton of the NY Times in Pearlington on Wednesday. She seems to be moving along on her story on modular housing innovations for the Gulf Coast. We would have love to have Leslie from upstate New York along.
It was truly a memorable day.
In addition, Ms. Eaton found the trip to Pearlington informative for a second, more personal story on housing concerns. (She couldn't make any promises to write about "One House at a Time" since the Pearlington story wasn't on her original assignment list.) We visited several homes built by "One House at Time," including the new home of Linda Freeman. It's larger than the first prototype cottage and promises to make a wonderful permanent residence for Linda, and her son Dalton. (Check out more on their home at The house was funded by "One House at a Time" and an anonymous grant.

Leslie seems like a serious journalist who has a big heart for the people of the Gulf Coast. She has been covering New Orleans since Katrina and hopes to continue the in-depth coverage of the region published in the Times. She usually spends a week a month in New Orleans. I'll keep you posted if I hear when the story is running.

Best wishes for a happy New Year, Lynn

11/29 - From Kris Locklin...
Greetings! It's Kris, Glenn Locklin's wife, and I just returned from a visit in Pearlington. Glenn's been down there since January '06 and I admit that this was my first visit, but it definitely won't be the last. I will slowly be jumping in with both feet (can one jump slowly?) to get things more organized and going in a fashion resembling the way Shannon took care of things when One House at a Time was in the hands of Habitat for Humanity of Walton County, FL. Thanks for all you did Shannon!

Work is going slowly for Glenn right now and several projects are near completion but waiting on one or two little things (big enough to stall the project, so not so little) to be done or inspected. Many are hoping to be in their homes by Christmas so we're praying the little things through! I will be working more closely with Glenn to get news out to all of you interested in the goings on of One House projects. Hopefully after the first of the year we can kick it up into high gear and I'll have more to report. For now, feel free to contact me regarding any questions, comments, suggestions or volunteer/donation interests you may have regarding One House at a Time. I can be emailed directly at and I will do my best to get with you as soon as possible.

Thanks, Leslie, for this forum to bring awareness to One House at a TIme, Glenn and his efforts in Pearlington, MS and all the others who actually make the project of rebuilding Pearlington a reality.

-- Kris Locklin

Picture taken 12/13/06

11/10 - Just found on Pickin' Up The Pieces Website:
- Pickin' Up The Pieces - From GA

The Hope Center Fellowship of Hendersonville TN
has taken over the work of OHAAT.
Now - from what I've heard from Walton County Habitat is that Glenn will remain the contact person on the ground in Pearlington.
THCF's website does not have any information regarding the OHAAT project. I'll keep checking it from time to time for that update.
I have Suzanne's phone number, but as of yet, have been unable to contact her (no voicemail) and do not have her email to get more details of their plans. Their Pastor - Jeremy Bradley's email is Last time I contacted him, I was given a very non-commital answer.
I wish I had more news and hope to have more soon....

It is great to see that you are still hard at it. Sorry for the long delay in contacting you regarding the One House at a Time project. The transfer is finally complete!! This leaves me with happy and sad emotions. I am extremely happy that the project goes on. New Community Church of Hendersonville, TN is overseeing the project and they plan to complete all the projects and to continue working for hurricane relief.

I have heard from some of the residents, one imparticularly that is handicapped, that could really use a stackable washer / dryer combo if you happen to know of any resources to refer them to. In the near future we will be sending thank yous out to the unit sponsors and plan to make the need known as well, but if you happen to hear of anything that would be great.

I will keep looking for your blogs and I will keep in touch. I have the wall quilting you made hanging by my desk, so I think of you often. Thank you for everything you have done and continue to do.
Take Care,
Glenn asked me to write or call you last week and give you an update on how things are going there. He is continuing with the building of the projects that have been started with a completion date of all projects started to be completed by November 1st.

In addition to that he and his family and church are actively seeking funds to carry on the One House project to continue on in remodeling and building for additional Katrina victims in Pearlington, as well as carrying the project on for future storm victims.

Hey Leslie,
Good to hear from you. Sorry I have not sent an update before now. I did not get to go to the reunion, but I wanted to go. Glenn said they were going to make a dvd or something like that to share, and if I receive a copy I will definitely pass it on to you.

As for the OHAAT project we are in the process of lining things up to turn the project over to a church in Hendersonville, TN. The church plans to finish the current projects, and plan to start doing refurbishing work in Pearlington, and they will try to raise funds and awareness to continue building. I know they would love for you to keep plugging for them as well. I will get details such as the pastor's contact information as soon as we get everything worked out.

8/11 - I spoke with Shannon again. It seems there is a church in TN that is seriously interested in taking on the One House project since New Hope has bowed out. I feel that would be positively incredible! Nothing has been finalized, but the folks at the church are very excited and so I have a very good feeling about this. I feel that a church organization will be perfect for this mission. So many churches have done such incredible things with what you would think was a very finite amount of financial and physical parameters. But God is good and with faith, anything IS possible!

Also, she sent me the invitation for the One Year "Reunion" for all PearlingtonVolunteers. While I can't make it this year, I'd absolutely love to next year! We'll see. has all the information.

The following is excerpts form the project report put out in early June:

Recovery Efforts
Habitat for Humanity of Walton County Florida in partnership with The Hurricane Relief Coalition of Walton County; New Hope Construction of Hendersonville, TN; Walton County community volunteer organizations; and local churches and individuals, adopted the small village of Pearlington, Mississippi in the Autumn of 2005, in an attempt to build transitional housing for the families of Pearlington.
More than $300,000 was raised and the work continues to this day, with a September 1, 2006, completion date for all transitional units. Scores of individuals, organizations, and corporations have contributed volunteer hours and monetary funds to the “One House At A Time” project.

Challenges Ahead
A number of challenges remain in the effort to rebuild Pearlington, Mississippi. These are not
exclusive to One House At A Time, but are indicative of all relief efforts on the Gulf Coast:
o Infrastructure – Most of Pearlington still does not have permanent electricity. Permitting
is sporadic and the unincorporated town council has no real authority to demand further
assistance. The village was scheduled for a multi-million dollar sewer installation in the
autumn of 2005. After Katrina, the project was cancelled.
o Sickness – On more than one occasion the relief village of volunteers at the Pearlington
Elementary School has been cleared due to the outbreak of flu and sickness.
o Compassion Fatigue – The ongoing relief efforts have proved taxing to the people of
Mississippi and those trying to assist.
o Dwindling Volunteers – As a new hurricane season begins and attention is drawn to other
areas, the stream of volunteers first entering the relief areas has significantly declined.
o Lack of organizational support – Habitat for Humanity International has made the
decision not to build in the Pearlington area of Hancock County, leaving the efforts to
smaller, grass root movements.

The One House At A Time project was highlighted on CBS Evening News 2/23/06! Woooo! Ronnie Mc Brayer even got some face time.
The following is the transcript from the 5 day special report called, "Katrina + 6 Months".

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Insect Control and Tolerance

I just got my Campmor catalog this last week and thought I'd share some ideas that aren't so expensive to buy and just might save some peoples' sanity or skin. The only 3 things I'm going to recommend, and they don't have to come from this catalog, are: The packtowel - super light and dries fast. GREAT. The bug head cover. Bugs in your ears is the worst. Solar shower. The one I show is the largest in the catalog. Allows for more showers in a row than smaller ones. But with showers being a limited resource, this is NOT a bad thing to take along.

You can see them yourself at You can also look for them at or I just happen to have the campmor catalog in front of me is all.

First will be mosquito/bug clothing. It's all pretty cheap. Honest. Compared to the comfort you'll have, it's cheap.

Bug Pants. # 82171 $19.99
Bug Top # 82170 $19.99

Bug Socks # 82172 $9.99

Bug Head Cover # 81276 $4.99

Bug Repellants:

DEET Free 4 oz. # 82151 $6.99 (Left)

31% DEET 2.5 oz #84830 $8.95

Shower stuff

Solar Shower Bag # 22320 $24.99

PackTowel 27x50 #99623 $27.05

Loving Neighbors

Prayer request:
One the pastors from Pearlington, Mississippi (Bro. Fred Fields) that our church, Hickory Hammock, and Doug have been working with had a family tragedy . His brother was killed in a car accident yesterday. Please pray for the family and his church.
11/11 - what some of them do on their "off time" at home:
Not a problem. Ok, here's the whole story less names etc... She (the lady in question) and her husband lived in St. Bernard Parish Louisiana. Not long before Katrina maybe 8 months, her husband was killed in a boating accident. She, her daughter, and mother were doing sort of ok until Katrina hit and then they lost EVERYTHING except, literally the cloths on their back.
Somehow they managed to get to Milton where she knew some friends who then sold (or gave at a very reduced rate) a house trailer.
New problems then arose, plumbing, leaks, the outside ramp for her mothers wheelchair was a problem, and the list goes on. She never asked for anything but when questioned how she was doing after joining the church we read between the lines and the rest is history. My neighbor who is a "carpenter/do it all projecteer" etc.. and a few others of us took action.
The problem was brought to us at our Bereans meeting and within a few days, the ramp was completely rebuilt, the toilet replaced, the bath tub re-mounted, and the second sink in her mothers bathroom repaired. All at no cost to her.
A few months ago a downed tree in her yard mysteriously sawed itself up and stacked itself neatly in a burn pile.Tomorrow a few of us will install a "divide" in the living-room for her mother. This divide will actually be a whole room division, i.e. making two rooms from one.
We do this NOT for glory or recognition but for the "anti-rust" fund. Yes, that's Biblical. Where? I'll let you figure that one out and tell you some time down the road.
Cruel, I know. You have to understand my "dark" humor. I, like Vincent Price, love to watch bug zappers doing their thing, vaporizing bugs.Take Care,Zeek
I haven't heard anything regarding their latest trip, but have put them in contact with a woman from a more northerly church who has pews to donate. Doug is looking to see what church they are working with can use them and will hopefully get back to me so I can update the site.
Will also let you know when their next trip is when I find out...
Just in from Zeek! 10/2
Oct. 7, 2006 will be our next trip. Quite a few folks going back to Pearlington to continue what we started nearly 1 year ago on our FIRST trip of Oct 14, 2005. HHBC is committed with labor on an ongoing basis and we WON'T leave until the job is done.
The 4 churches we started helping a year ago are coming along very well, not done but still a work-in-progress effort.
The pics I take are usually up on the web site about 2 weeks after the trip. Here's the URL just in case this memo is passed along or copied in some way:
Just look for the dates on the buttons. I will be updating the page and archiving some of the old stuff. I will have a button to these files (archived) for anyone’s interest. All photos on my site are available for NON-COMMERICAL use only. i.e. church functions fund gathering for the Pearlington effort etc... Not required but if you want to give hhbc a credit line it's ok.
ALL monies we collect, gather, accumulate, go 100% to the rebuilding effort. I hope eventually we (hhbc) will release the company donors that have given so NON-SELFISHLY to the rebuilding in Pearlington.
Till next time, keep us in your prayers and thank you.
I spoke with Doug Pennington today and he gave me a great update on what's going on with the different missions of Loving Neigbors. The financial aspect is covered by a coalition of 16 churches, while the "boots on the ground" is covered by a couple of other church groups.
They have essentially completed the restoration of 2 churches. The first is Fellowship Hall, which serves and THE kitchen for residents and volunteers alike.
Another is the New Hope Baptist Church, where a vacation bible school took place this summer and where the Volunteer Reunion is to be held in a few weeks. All that remains for this church is cosmetic work and it is completed!
They are putting a roof on another church right now and in the process of tearing down to rebuild yet another. This one is a sad story since the building is over 130 years old and just can not be restored. The damage is too great.
He also told me of some branching out they are doing, working with Hope Force Interational, which I hope to have information on this coming week. This group is building Pre-Fab houses of about 1000 s.f. for about 15,000 each. WOW! How wonderful is that!
They also have several members who are working with this group to train for Grief/Trauma counciling, since this is an area of the recovery that is so greatly neglected.
He will be emailing me a needs list and more information this coming week, so will update as soon as I can!
Hickory Hammock Baptist Church (HHBC) is a growing church located in Milton Florida (Panhandle near Pensacola), with a heart for Missions. Our church's current Local Mission is supporting Pearlington, MS in the rebuilding of three churches.
Moe Emailed me some of the details and many pictures (thank you!) and while their main mission is to finish restoring these 3 churches by EASTER, they are also collecting items to make into "kits" for the residents of Pearlington.
LovingNeighbors is providing Home Starter Kits for families moving into small house trailers.
These kits include: kitchen goods, linens, cleaning supplies, and miscellaneous items. Generators are also needed. Please select which level you wish to support.

A gift of $500 provides a Home Starter Kit; with housewares, kitchenware, cleaning supplies, linens and bedding.
A gift of $125 provides one quarter of a kit.
A gift of any size is welcome!
Please send any gifts/donations to:
Christ Church of Oak Brook
ATTN: LovingNeighbors
31st St & York Rd
Oak Brook, IL 60523

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Charles B. Murphy Elementary Needs

10/22 From the USA Today - Make a Difference Day
350 parents, teachers, Rotary International members and KaBOOM! volunteers will build a playground for kids whose 2 schools were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. The students, who now attend class in trailers, designed their new play space. This is KaBOOM!s 24th playground in the Gulf Region. At each project, volunteers are urged to "Play it Forward".

10/13 - From Jeanne
Hey! I'm got a lot to say and little time to say much (too many jobs to pay too many bills) but maybe this weekend I can get a minute to explain. In the meantime, can you put out a request for some help. IF anyone is going to be in this area the week of October 26-28th, Kaboom is putting in a badly needed playground at the "new" school site. We need bodies to help. You can give my email address and/or the school # 228 467-4655 for a contact. Thanks!! More when I get time!!
brooksjeanne AT hotmail DOT com

Hi Gang!! I'm up to my eyeballs in work (I guess that's good, but I'm sure beat at the end of the week) and I'm actually thinking ahead to Red Ribbon Week. By any chance do you have an old copy of one of the MCGruff the Crime Dog drug prevention videos you no longer want ? I had several but then we all know about that!! I've found some for sale but they're $80.00 and I just can't see spending that if someone has an extra they don't want that they're willing to part with. If so, I would be thrilled to get it. Let me know and I'll send you an address. Thanks for all you've ever done and continue to do!

Jeanne Brooks
"Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire."(William Butler Yeats)

Again, from Jeanne - great resource!

Books -

blank cd's and discs
play "kitchen" toys (like Little Tykes) for kindergarten
a sand table (kdg)
surge protectors (power strips)
books on tape/cd's (elementary)
computer software for elementary grades
funds to purchase activity tables for groupwork
childrens' sofas for library
physical education cart
listening centers/headsets

Gift cards to Wal mart, Lowe's, Home Depot,, Office Depot

Landscape Photos

These were taken 11/19/05 - so these aren't "The Day After The Night Before" kind of thing. This is what the area looks like STILL.

A boat that isn't where it ought to be. And probably won't be for quite a while, if ever. The money to put one that size BACK into the water - much less water deep enough.

The picture on the right is obviously one of debris that has been cleared from a road, awaiting removal. Peoples' lives are in that 12' high pile.

The trailer is a FEMA trailer in their yard until their house is repaired. Can you imagine fitting an entire family in those? That's why Walton County Habitat is working so hard to get these transitional houses built. They're still very small, but far more square footage than one of these, AND disabled/elderly/large families can negotiate the transitional housing much more easily.

Picture of the bunk houses being built on the athletic field in Pearlington - you can see the football uprights to the right of the picture. This is also the basic size of the transitional houses, just with fewer windows due to wall space for bunks.

Avoiding Heat Related Illness

Hello everyone.

Since summer has set in on the Gulf, but spring has barely arrived up North, I figured I’d write a small missive about Heat Exhaustion, Heat Stroke and Dehydration. These are all things you will have to watch your volunteers for as they work. I am also attaching a poster you can place where the volunteers will see it.

My medical background includes having been a paramedic and in emergency medical services for 15 years as well as having a degree in Health Science and Exercise Physiology. I have also lived in Louisville, KY and Dallas, TX so am very familiar with working in very hot, humid conditions.

Most of your volunteers are what would be called unconditioned. They aren't athletes in any sense of the word, so their ability to deal with heat under physical stress is diminished. That's one strike. The next strike is if they have any underlying medical conditions, which I would guess about half have. If they have high blood pressure or heart conditions, they should do as little hard manual labor as possible. Any medications they are on are likely to diminish their ability to deal with heat even further.

So, since you're only working with one strike left, you've got to make the most of it.

Strongly urge that no caffeine be taken to the work sites. Caffeine in the AM and after work is finished is tolerable, but not during work.
Carbonated beverages are tolerable, but not optimal during work.
Take breaks every 15 minutes to drink. Suggest they take their pulse.
Seriously consider stopping work at 2PM.
Urge the volunteers to alternate water with their favorite beverage.

Caffeine increases body temperature, pulse, constricts blood vessels and draws water out of the body. None of these things are good in hot conditions. Hence, no caffeine at work sites.

Carbonated beverages don't offer much more than sugar with a little water, so aren't of high value, but are certainly better than drinking nothing at all. Sports drinks are OK as well, as is Gatorade or Tang.

By taking breaks every 15 minutes to drink, this will help better assure hydration and will also keep Heat Exhaustion/Stroke at bay. Having them take their pulse during these breaks will also give a very quick evaluation of their status. If their heart rates are over 100 5 minutes into the break, they need to rest further. Heat Exhaustion is beginning.

The hottest part of the day actually begins after 2PM – generally around 3PM and continues well into the evening. In Dallas, temperatures would remain into the 90’s well after midnight. If you must, begin work early – say 630AM. This is generally the coolest time of the day.

Knowing that water can be very tedious, urge the volunteers to alternate their beverages with water. As I stated before, just about anything is acceptable, as long as water is included. The best test for full hydration is the color of the urine. Clear and almost colorless is perfect. If it's cloudy and dark, the person is NOT drinking enough. This will be included in the poster. Gatorade is good. Tang might be better. It is higher in potassium, which is more important than the sodium in Gatorade. Plus, people might drink more of it due to better taste. And it can be mixed to individual strengths.

No alcohol. Heat Exhaustion/Stroke can set in well after the work is complete. Alcohol has the best potential to throw a person's body into one of these long after the hot work is done.

Think about having things such as dill pickles and green olives available. After work in Dallas, I would eat at least a half dozen olives and then drink another gallon of water during the evening. Even with this, I would be dehydrated by the end of the week. 2 gallons of fluids each day is not unreasonable and very much favored. Expect the volunteers to be dehydrated by week's end and not be performing as well as they should. Accidents will be far more likely the last day of work due to the brain not working quite right without its water.

Signs of Heat Exhaustion:
The signs of heat exhaustion include paleness, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, fainting, and a moderately increased temperature (101-102 degrees F). They will also have excessive sweating. This means they will look like they've been hit with a fire hose of water. You'll know it if you see it.

If a person shows these signs, get them to a cool shady place that has a fan or breeze. Make them lie down and drink fluids as much as possible. If they are vomiting, they may need to seek emergency medical assistance as this can lead to Heat Stroke. They will NOT be able to work for the duration of their visit. Heat Exhaustion does not end in a day. It takes several days to weeks to fully recover.

Signs of Heat Stroke
Heat stroke is the most severe form of heat illness. It can occur even in people who are not exercising, if the weather is hot enough. These people have warm, flushed (red) skin, and do not sweat. Whether exercise-related or not, though, a person with heat stroke usually has a very high temperature (106 degrees F or higher), and may be delirious, unconscious, or having seizures. These people need to have their temperature reduced quickly, often with ice packs, and must also be given IV fluids for rehydration; they must be taken to the hospital as quickly as possible and may have to stay in the hospital for observation since many different body organs can fail in heat stroke.

Anyone suffering from Heat Stroke must not work in this type environment again for about a year and may never be able to again. Heat Stroke alters the body's ability to tolerate hot environments. Also – if anyone in the team does suffer Heat Stroke, assume all are suffering from Heat Exhaustion and stop all work.

I know it sounds serious. And it is. But with proper hydration listed at the beginning, there will be no problems. I just want you aware of what could happen so that you can take care of yourself and your volunteers.

If you are a long-term volunteer, seriously consider eating yogurt every day, significantly reducing your sugar intake, and even taking acidophyllus pills. These actions will significantly reduce your chances at athlete's foot, jock itch, yeast infection - which are all basically the same thing, just different areas of the body. Change all underclothing (socks too) twice a day in order to minimize your risk for these problems. This is knowledge gained from personal experience!

The Following is a poster I made for you to put where your volunteers will be able to read it and educate themselves:

Avoid Heat Related Illness!

No Caffeine While Working
Drink Fluids Every 15 Minutes While Working
Rest 5 Minutes Every 15 Minutes
Take Your Pulse Before Starting Work Again.

Your pulse is over 100, REST until it’s below 90.
You feel nauseous, STOP working.
You stop sweating, STOP working.
You feel dizzy, STOP working.

Find the coolest spot possible, lie down, and drink copious amounts of fluids. If, after 30 minutes you continue to feel ill or worse, seek medical attention NOW and alert your team leader. No work for the rest of the day.

After work, continue drinking every 15 minutes until your urine is clear and pale yellow. Dark and/or cloudy means you’re dehydrated. It’ll only get worse tomorrow if you don’t keep drinking.

If you don’t like water, alternate it with another fluid. NO ALCOHOL

The Reception

The Ceremony

Miss Suzie being walked down the aisle by Buster and an unknown Trooper. How stately!

The ceremony with Buster, Trooper (someone just emailed me and said the trooper might be Miss Suzie's Nephew Joel), Ronnie officiating and the couple.

Wedding Photos

The front of the "Chapel/House". It was the first built. The middle post on the porch is the one the couple was clinging to for dear life during the last part of the storm. Since it coudl be salvaged, the building crew decided to put it on the porch as a constant reminder of the support it gave them to get through this whole 'adventure'.

A Pearlington Wedding

Posted on Thu, Dec. 22, 2005

For Pearlington couple, it was now or never
Wedding takes place against all odds

PEARLINGTON - Suzie Burton and Josh Ward were married Wednesday outside their new home, surrounded by more than 50 family members and friends. Neither would have believed this day would come after what they experienced during and after Hurricane Katrina.

The couple, in their 70s, lived in Suzie's family home with their pot-bellied pig, Sweet Pea. Like many other South Mississippi residents, they did not evacuate, thinking they would be safe.

The couple was forced to their back porch and held on to a wooden column for the duration of the storm as the water rose 12 feet in their neighborhood. Their house was ripped from the foundation and deposited several yards away. Bruised and beaten, the couple stayed in their home for three days until they were rescued and taken to separate hospitals hundreds of miles apart.

Weeks passed before the couple reunited; Suzie said she and Josh knew it was now or never.

"Their life came back to them again when they found each other," said Josh's sister Shirley Busby. "If they could survive that, they deserve to be together."

Suzie never looked twice at the destroyed house where she raised her children, lying only yards from her new home. She sparkled in her white dress and diamond earrings as she walked toward her husband, shouting greetings to her family.

"I'm just so excited," Suzie said later, between singing hymns and greeting family. "I got my man! Everybody can see how much I love him. When God was passing out blessings, He saved one just for me."

The good fortune of the happy couple is due in part to the South Walton Hurricane Helpers from Florida.

Relief worker Buster Woodruff found Pearlington en route to New Orleans following Katrina and realized the area was in dire need. He worked with the Walton County Habitat for Humanity and New Hope Construction of Hendersonville, Tenn., to build a home for the couple where their old house once stood. The front porch has three white columns. The center post is the very same that Suzie and Josh held onto during the storm.
"It's very inspirational," Woodruff said of the efforts to help the couple. "It's a feeling you can't get any other way. It's hard to put into words, but everything came together great."

And what plans do the newlyweds have for a honeymoon?
"Oh," Suzie said dismissively, "whatever my baby here wants to do. I got Jesus and I got Josh. That's enough for me."
Love Conquers All

A 75-year old couple who rode out Katrina together married December 21 on the front porch of their new home in Pearlington, Mississippi

“Everyone knows I’m always late for everything,” confesses Suzie Burton. “All my friends and family laugh that I’ll be late for my own funeral. But if the good Lord is willing, I’ll be on time for my wedding.” Willing or not, Miss Suzie was late for her wedding to Mr. Josh Ward on December 21.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, an hour or so delay barely fazed the more than 50 friends and family who gathered in Pearlington, Mississippi to celebrate the start of a new life in a house built by scores of volunteers just in time for the wedding.

“Our corner of Northwest Florida didn’t experience the devastation of Mississippi and Louisiana,” says Buster Woodruff of Walton County, Florida, who helped build the house. “We were blessed and wanted to help others who were less fortunate.” Within days after Katrina, he packed his truck with supplies and headed west to New Orleans. He got as far as Pearlington when he found a community in dire need of help.

Sometimes the best way to solve a really big problem is to start with an attainable goal. With that philosophy, a grassroots coalition of volunteers from Walton County, Florida have started the One House at a Time Project. Working with their local Habitat for Humanity affiliate the group recently completed the first of many temporary houses in Pearlington.

A Deserving Couple has a New Home

Like many South Mississippi residents, Suzie Burton and Josh Ward had no idea what was ahead as they heard news of a hurricane called Katrina in the Gulf of Mexico.
Both are in their 70s, and each of their spouses had passed away. Over the past few years the two have forged a wonderful friendship. Suzie is the outgoing one, always talking, telling stories, laughing and singing. Mr. Josh is more of the strong silent type, not to mention a fabulous cook. “After his ‘Miss Mary’ passed I’d stopped by to help with things around his house,” recalls Suzie. “He always invited me to have something to eat. And it was always so delicious that I starting making sure my visits were around lunch time.”

Although the storm had intensified by Sunday afternoon, they decided to not to evacuate. Suzie was a long-time resident of Mississippi and her wood-framed house in Pearlington had witnessed many storms over the years. She had raised a family in that house. She owns the land. It was, and still is, home.

As they settled into Suzie’s home for the night, they watched a little television and soon went to sleep. It was raining and blowing, but they had no way of knowing what was ahead. About 6:30 in the morning, Josh awoke and swung his legs to the side of the bed to discover a few inches water on the floor. Within 30 minutes, the water was rising. And rising fast.

There was no where to go. There was no one to turn to for help. Josh has trouble getting around and needs a walker. As the water rose within the house, they looked for a pillar of support. Together they wrapped their arms around a porch column as the storm’s powerful tidal surge lifted the house off its foundation.

“He told me many times that he loved me, but I was never really sure how much I really loved him until that night,” recalls Suzie. “When the water got over our heads and we hung onto the porch for dear life I said ‘Please god, if you must take one of us, take me. Please don’t let it be Mr. Josh.’ I didn’t want him to drown in that deep dark water.”

The house floated more than 12 feet before it lodged in place. Everything was lost, including their beloved pot belly pig Sweet Pea, in the hours before the waters receded. As it rested in a most precarious position with no steps to get to down to solid ground, the couple waited for help. They sat in the living room of the ramshackled house on a wet sofa with no emergency supplies. It was nearly three days before family members found them.

Both Suzie and Josh suffered injuries during the storm. She was taken to a hospital in Louisiana. A military transport carried him to Northern Mississippi, where he slept in an aluminum lawn chair for two weeks. Amid the confusion, they had no way to communicate with each other. There was no news if the other one was even alive. They had lost their home and all their personal belonging and their beloved pot belly pig, Sweet Pea. And now they had lost each other.

A few weeks before Thanksgiving, they both made it back to Pearlington where they reconnected. After the experience, they knew they wanted to spend the rest of their life together.

Soon after their reunion in Pearlington, they met Buster at the local relief center. “I offered to help Miss Suzie carry a load of laundry to her truck, and then she offered to tell me their story,” recalled Buster. “I knew then that we had to do something for them.”

Once the One House at a Time Project had started construction of their new home, Buster turned to planning the wedding and finding the perfect wedding dress for Miss Suzie. Complete with satin, silk, lace, pearls and a 12-foot train.

With Buster on one arm and her cousin Johnny on the other, Suzie glowed as she walked through the yard of her new home, the first newly constructed building in Pearlington, greeting guest and singing praises of thanks. Ronnie McBrayer, the executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Walton County and an ordained minister performed the ceremony amid shouts of hallelujah and praise the Lord.

The wedding cake had been cut and Suzie thought all her dreams had come true, when Buster presented the newlyweds with a baby pot belly pig named Angel. She let out a little cry, broke into song and repeated, “I am blessed, I am blessed.” They then spent their honeymoon in their new home which is in the same location as the home that had floated from this spot during the storm. The porch post that they clung to as the water rose is now the center column on their new front porch and provides a support for hope in the new year.

Safety Guidelines for Volunteers

Katrina Recovery Workers: Safety Gear is a Must - And Watch for Snakes
From FEMA Filed 5/12/06 GCN

BILOXI, Miss. – With the end of the school year approaching, hundreds of high school and college students are expected to help storm-damaged neighborhoods spring back to life. These volunteers are a great asset in the recovery efforts.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) safety officials remind everyone working around battered structures on overgrown sites to work smart and stay healthy, especially as the weather warms up.

“Inexperienced workers may not be aware of the serious trouble that threatens their feet, legs, arms, hands and heads on job sites, as well as potential hazards to their lungs and eyes when pulling walls apart,” said Jesse Munoz, acting director of the transitional recovery office for Hurricane Katrina. “We want them to be properly equipped and to work safely at all times.”
Snake strikes have been reported throughout the past month by workers at demolition and debris collection sites in the six southern-most counties of Mississippi. A strike is a hit on leather or protective fabric.

Safety officials suggest protective equipment from the ground up for people working around debris:

Sturdy work boots with sole protection against nails and glass;
Long pants to guard against cuts and varmints;
Leather work gloves to ward off cuts and bites and to minimize damage from smashing incidents;
N-95 face mask from a building supply store to protect lungs from fiberglass and other debilitating dust;
Safety goggles to keep particles and flying objects out of eyes;
Hard hat to guard against falling objects and sideways bumps from careless co-workers;
Be sure your tetanus shot is current;

and Insect repellant

The BRICK Layers
I just went to the BRICK Layer's site and it looks fantastic! Not sure when it was overhauled, but it just gorgeous!
The following are links to photos of projects they've finished. Very inspiring!
From any of these links, you can take a look at their ongoing projects.

Hey Leslie. I just sent my 16th mission team to Pearlington this weekend. I didn’t go with them this time, but my family and I will be spending Thanksgiving in Pearlington.

The BRICK Layers of Huntsville, AL will be traveling to Pearlington, MS for their 15th mission trip. Joining us this time will be Trinity Methodist Church from Huntsville, Flint River Baptist Church from Hazel Green, AL, and Bill and Colleen’s group from Livingston, TN. We will meet up with Larry’s group from Houston, TX. We will continue construction on over 20 homes as well as doing some landscaping. We hope to put the finishing touches on the Ladner house that we started building from the ground up in June.
We will also be landscaping the entrance to the Oak Harbor Subdivision in memory of Capt. Harry Bell. We also hope to have a special time of praise and worship on the beach to thank God for all that He has blessed us with this past year.
Jennifer Johnson
BRICK Layers (Believers Rebuilding In Christ's Kingdom)
Huntsville, AL
REBUILDING PEARLINGTON... one brick at a time

July 23 Update

If you’ve been to Pearlington once, twice, or ten times, there is a distinct feeling that you can’t deny. It feels like coming home. And God is the co-pilot.

I don’t think that I can accurately describe to you how I feel God’s presence as we plan for each trip and as we work in Pearlington. Warren Tidwell knows. He described his and his father’s first drive into Pearlington to deliver George and Margaret’s doors and windows as “magical.” There are so many tales to tell from the last 10 months, but some of the most obvious signs happened this past week. In my lifetime I have been a member of two different churches – Willowbrook Baptist and Latham Methodist, both from Huntsville, Alabama. While sitting in Café du Monde last Wednesday sipping coffee and eating beignets with my Willowbrook friends, I looked at the table right next to us. The man sitting at the table looked so familiar that I had to ask him where he was from. As I approached the table, I began to recognize more faces. It turns out that the youth group from Latham was doing mission work in Slidell and had chosen that day to come to New Orleans, to eat at Café du Monde, to sit at the table next to us. Coincidence? I don’t think so.

I have been on mission trips to two places this summer – Alaska and Pearlington. While in Alaska we worked at camp Laverne G. There was one other group working there – a small group from Florida. They were delightful. Our groups bonded instantly. While we were still at Laverne G, a group of 4 ladies walked in. I was curious about one lady wearing a New Orleans t-shirt, so I asked her. This group of ladies runs the Baptist Friendship House in New Orleans. They invited us to park at their facility when we visited New Orleans. So last Wednesday, we were reunited with these ladies that I had met in Alaska and parked in their parking lot. A while later, walking down the streets of New Orleans, a group had on “FBI” shirts. I was trying to read what FBI stood for….First Baptist I……I didn’t get to the last word before I saw the face. “You look so familiar. Where do I know you from?” My daughter Meg jumped in, “Yeah, I’ve seen you before…wait….Alaska….you were the group at Laverne Griffin.” It was true. They were the group from Florida on a mission trip in New Orleans. I’ve stopped believing in coincidences. In one day on the streets of New Orleans while doing His work, God placed us with the only two groups that we had met while doing His work at Laverne Griffin camp in Alaska. It is one way that God says to me, “Keep living in my will. Keep doing my work. Keep on keeping on.”

Coming to Pearlington doesn’t seem like mission work. It’s more like coming home. Harry and Nancy B were one of the first families to show us this. It was my birthday in November when I first met them. They treated me to the most amazing shrimp boil and birthday cake I have ever had…..and they did it all from their FEMA trailers. Once Harry and Nancy moved back into their house, if you went to visit, you better not knock. You better know that you just come on in….like family. And you better be hungry, because there was always food around and it was going to be offered to you, and you better say yes. This past week, we had to lay Harry’s body to rest. It was one of the hardest things to do because it was like losing one of my own family members. But I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Harry’s soul is celebrating in heaven and that one day I will be there with him. And I better not knock. I better just walk right in. And I know that there will be plenty of food offered to me and I better say yes. And then there are the Ladner’s. If I could choose an additional set of grandparents for my children, it would be tough to choose from those that I have met in Pearlington, but George and Margaret would be at the top of the list. We share in their excitement as they watch their new home being built. And when one of them isn’t feeling well, we hurt with them just as their children do. When I met their daughter Claudia and her family for the first time this weekend, it was as if we had known each other all of our lives. All of the residents make us feel like this. We laugh with them. We cry with them. We celebrate with them. I guess that sleeping on someone’s concrete slab with exposed 2 x 4’s all around you, and eating jambalaya or red beans and rice surrounded with half finished construction projects has created a special bond that can’t be beat.

So many things look different since my first visit to Pearlington when trees still blocked the streets and everything was brown. Brown with mud. Brown due to loss of vegetation. Now you can see new roofs, new construction, new sheetrock and new paint. The brown is slowly being replaced by green. New growth, a little grass. Many are moving back into their homes. The community is coming together like never before to rebuild. And yet, some things remain the same. There are still some houses that haven’t been touched. Still piles of debris on the side of the road. There is still so much to do.

So keep coming to Pearlington. Keep encouraging others to participate. But in the business of your preparations, don’t forget to take the time to be still and know that He is God. Don’t forget to take the time to ask Him what His will for your involvement is. And if you listen very carefully you will hear Him whisper, “Keep on keeping on.”

Jennifer Johnson
“Whatever you do, work at it with all of your heart as working for the Lord, not for men.” Colossians 3:23
BRICK Layers (Believers Rebuilding In Christ's Kingdom)
Huntsville, AL
REBUILDING PEARLINGTON... one brick at a time

The History of The BRICK Layers

September when our church, Willowbrook Baptist, began ministering to the people who had evacuated to Huntsville because of Katrina, I became involved with some of the families there and those who had transferred into my daughters’ school, Huntsville Middle School. I began to use the skills that God gave me and the resources that I knew of in our church and community to help find housing, furniture and household goods for some of these families. What I found was that the residents of Huntsville were very open and willing to do whatever was needed to meet the needs of the evacuees. I was blessed to witness as the people of Huntsville gave from their hearts.

I work with the 8th grade girls at Willowbrook on Sunday nights. I asked them if they would like to do a mini extreme makeover in an apartment for the C family from Harvey, Louisiana. The 10th grade girls joined us and, with very little money and lots of donations, Courtney B (interior designer) and I guided this group of girls and some adults to completely create bedrooms for the son, Terry and the daughters, Zebreiona and Sasha. The children LOVED it.

But we still had one problem. The family had an apartment in Harvey, LA that still had some furniture in it. We knew that the upstairs bedrooms had been ruined when the roof of the apartment was partially blown off by the storm. That is why we did the bedrooms for the children. But we thought there might be some furniture to salvage downstairs. So I sent out an email asking if anyone had a truck to drive down to Harvey. Mark J answered my email. He and Ray M offered to drive down and pick up the furniture.As time got closer, I couldn’t stand them going without me, so on September 23, my husband dropped me off on Rideout Road with two men that I had never met before (Mark and Ray). But we trusted that God was going to take care of me. On the way to Harvey, LA, Mark said that he had some supplies that his church had collected for the tiny little forgotten town of Pearlington, Mississippi. When we drove into the town, we were detoured around the roads because so many were still blocked with debris and fallen trees.

When we turned the corner, the first building we saw was the First Southern Baptist Church. It broke our hearts to see the building stripped down to the studs and concrete flooring. We dropped off the supplies at Charles B. Murphy Elementary School, which had been turned into an Emergency Distribution Center. As we left town, I called one of the families that we were helping get placed in Huntsville.

Jeannie asked me, “Where have you been?”

“Oh, this tiny little town of Pearlington, MS.”

There was silence for a moment and Jeannie said, “That’s where I grew up. That’s where my mom, dad and sister live. Where did you go?”

I answered, “To the Distribution Center at Charles B. Murphy Elementary.”

Jeannie’s reply, “That’s where I went to school.”

We had no idea at that time that God was leading us on an incredible journey. Since then, 90 individuals from all over North Alabama have come together to help with the restoration efforts in Pearlington. We have had support from several churches, including Willowbrook Baptist, Whitesburg Baptist and Trinity. Rob P, John L and Ron L from the Madison Baptist Association have been very supportive of our efforts. Bonnie B is one of our volunteers. She teaches at Grissom High School. With the support of her faculty, she created “Hoops for Hancock” and with Grissom students playing a tournament of “hoops” was able to raise $4,000 for Hancock High School (where the Pearlington residents attend high school).

With our website, we are getting letters and donations from many different states.

We call ourselves BRICK Layers (Believers Rebuilding In Christ’s Kingdom) and our motto is REBUILDING PEARLINGTON…one brick at a time. We get our inspiration from Nehemiah. When the walls of Jerusalem fell, Nehemiah began to rebuild the walls one brick at a time. The people told him to come down from the wall, that he was wasting his time. He said he could not, he would not come down for he was doing a great thing for the Lord.

At times we feel like our efforts are so small when compared to the amount of destruction that has been done. But when we think of Nehemiah, each supply drive, each mission trip, each plea for help that we make becomes one more brick of hope as we REBUILDING PEARLINGTON…one brick at a time.

So far we have made 10 mission trips to Pearlington. We have our next 5 trips planned through October. Each time we go to Pearlington, we take each family one step closer to living a normal life in a normal home. We work with the other volunteer organizations there. What we have found is that it is the volunteers from faith based organizations who are making the most progress on the Gulf Coast. But what we have found most true is that we go down to the Gulf Coast to bless the people who live there, but we find is that they bless us tenfold.

This has been a life changing experience for many of us and our families…an experience that we wouldn’t change for anything. Our biggest dream will come true June 24 when a team from Pennsylvania led by John Long will frame a house for George and Margaret L, who have grown very dear to our hearts. You can read about George and Margaret on our website . The students of Whitesburg Academy are currently purchasing lumber for the framing of George and Margaret’s home. The children will write words of encouragement and scriptures on the lumber.

If anyone would like to make tax deductible donations that will go directly to the rebuilding of Pearlington, checks made out to the Madison Baptist Association can be sent to their office, 2318 Whitesburg Drive, Huntsville, AL 35801. This money does not go for administrative costs. It goes directly to buying building supplies for the people of Pearlington. Pearlington is always in need of skilled workers such as plumbers, electricians, sheetrock hangers, roofers. If you or your group would like to take a group of skilled workers to Pearlington, please search our website for more information.

“Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue, but with actions and in truth.” 1John 3:18

Won’t you join us in our efforts to REBUILDING PEARLINGTON…one brick at a time?

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Saturday, May 13, 2006

Charles B Murphy Elementary update

Kids making Christmas Ornaments in the library. It has its own building now! Woohoo!

A Christmas Tree donated by Saddleback Valley Christian School, Oak Park in Lansdale, Pa and a scout group from Ca

Decorations bought by the librarian to help spruce the place up a bit!

This picture is of a pillowcase the kids made to help them remember being part of Charles B Murphy Elementary. They also put their handprints on each one so they would all have each other around and never be alone.

Actually building-wise, I'm far better than last year. When they combined the 2 schools, they had a portable brought in to be used as a 'dining hall".
It just didn't work - was just as far as the cafeteria, wouldn't hold enough kids, carpeted, etc. BUT - it did make a great library!I was still at CBM working out of no space (ok, the gifted teacher in a mad moment gave me part of her room and I took it!) Gulfview took a 4th grade teacher who was library certified but had never been in a library and gave her their library. She basically was overwhelmed by it all, so when they combined the schools, she went back to 4th grade and I became queen of the books.
It's not bad at all. I 'm still in the "giving away" stages so kids don't check books out but believe me, they don't miss a thing!! And since I now have several big grants, I have to weed out what I don't have space for (nearly all of the books are paperback) and the kids are the better for it.
I decorate it to the nine's so it doesn't look like the same boring FEMA trailer they see all the time and it's been worth every penny to have the kids and adults comment as they come in. The oohs and aahs for the Christmas tree alone was worth it!!

From Jeanne:

Oh wow! I only WISH I was all this says!! I'm flattered to say the least! I DO wish, though, that I was not wearing 2 sweaters and a man's borrowed jacket....I look more and more like the Pillsbury Doughboy's sister!! Oh well, beauty's only skin deep...but ugly's all the way through!!

4/17 - My aunt brought over a dozen more brand new which are being mailed down this week with another 7 dozen tennis balls. We need another couple dozen. Can you help?

4/6 - I have acquired 37 ish pillow cases from a local laundry service - Bates Troy. I'll be sending them down for the school to get just after their Spring Break. They could still use another 30 or so if you're willing to make this art project for the entire school!

Normally, I don't post stuff like this because I don't want the school to be inundated with items. BUT - I'm making an exception.

Jeanne has put in a request for Plain, solid colored - preferably white - Pillow Cases.

She needs 30 - 70 would be grand. But 30 is a minimum. It's for an upbeat art project for the kids - I have no clue after that.

If you want to help, send them to:

Charles B. Murphy Elementary School
Attn. Jeanne Brooks
7050 Stennis Airport Rd.
Kiln, MS 39556

Well - the project has been completed and here are the results! The love and compassion these teachers have for their students just jumps off the page at me. Please look carefully at the pictures to see exactly how tight the space is to teach these kids.

I remain amazed at how resourceful these teachers are compared to the local teachers and their work conditions. They all deserve a HUGE thank you and a standing ovation. Truly amazing!

Notice how tight the work space is - an office desk with a woman working at it directly behind the pillow case project, another teacher working with another student in the background.

And the finish product drying for the kids to take home! How cool is that? What a great idea!

The pillow cases are from Bates Troy in Binghamton, NY, along with a dozen from Judy H of Endicott NY.

The tennis balls on the feet of the chairs are from The Binghamton Tennis Center and Binghamton University.

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Pearlington Gulfview School

New school on high ground - Site work will begin soon
HANCOCK COUNTY - Construction could begin sometime in the spring on a new elementary school for students in Lakeshore and Pearlington, according to district officials.
School Board President Morgan Ladner said site preparation for the new school will soon begin at the old Gulfview Elementary location at the corner of Lower Bay Road and Lakeshore Drive. The board voted this week on the location.
Gulfview Elementary and Charles B. Murphy Elementary were demolished after Hurricane Katrina struck last year. Since the storm, students have been forced to drive more than 12 miles to classes on the high school campus near Stennis International Airport.
"This is good news for the people in the southern portion of the county," Ladner said. "We plan to have a state-of-the-art facility, the best on the Coast, for the students of Pearlington and Lakeshore."
In order to use federal funds to help build the school, the district has to meet FEMA's flood guidelines, which means rebuilding on high ground.
District officials recently narrowed a list of potential sites for the new school to two properties: The Gulfview campus and property along Lower Bay Road near U.S. 90.
Ladner said the Gulfview campus is higher above the flood plain than the other property and the district would not have to purchase any land.
"The deciding factor was that this was the highest of the two," he said.
Ladner said parents and students will likely come up with a list of suggested names for the new school and then the school board will select one. In addition, students may determine a mascot and the school colors.

Added 8/4
Time running out on 2 elementary schools
HANCOCK COUNTY - More than four months after they were bulldozed, the future of two elementary schools here still is uncertain and education leaders are running out of options.
Gulfview Elementary and Charles B. Murphy Elementary spent decades tucked away in the county's tiniest communities, where it was still mostly safe to walk or ride a bike to school.
As last year in Hurricane Katrina's aftermath, elementary children in Lakeshore and Pearlington next week will again be forced to drive more than 12 miles to classes on the high school campus near Stennis International Airport.
Hancock School District officials are running out of possible places to rebuild the Katrina-damaged schools to meet FEMA's flood guidelines.
According to education officials, in order to use federal funds to rebuild the schools, both campuses will need to move to higher ground, which is hard to find nowadays in Hancock County.
"We are looking at different options and nothing has been decided at this point," Hancock Superintendent David Kopf said. "FEMA says we can go up or out."
Kopf said the school district could look for land "out" of Pearlington and Lakeshore, or it can rebuild the schools at their original locations, but the buildings would have to go "up," meaning they would have to be high enough to meet FEMA's flood-elevation requirements.
Charles B. Murphy Elementary was built in the 1960s for children displaced from now-extinct communities such as Logtown, Gainsville and Napoleon, which were made to vanish when NASA established its Stennis buffer zone on more than 100,000 acres of county land.
Several generations passed through the halls of Gulfview Elementary, which survived hurricanes in 1947 and 1969. FEMA inspectors deemed the schools unsalvageable and they were destroyed, according to county education officials.
FEMA has used a 50 percent destruction standard to determine whether a building is salvageable. Under the rule, if FEMA inspectors believe it will cost more than 50 percent of a building's worth to restore it, the structure is considered destroyed.
Not everyone believes Gulfview was beyond repair.
Former county Supervisor Jerry Ladner is leading a charge of Lakeshore residents who want answers. They have requested copies of the engineer's report and photos that prove the school was beyond saving.
"All I want to see is the engineer's report from where (FEMA said) the school needed to be destroyed," Ladner said.
A school-district secretary confirmed she had seen requests from Ladner, but could not say whether the district had supplied the group with the report.
Kopf said Donnie Golston, assistant superintendent, has the engineer's reports and records regarding the two schools. Golston did not return messages left Thursday by the Sun Herald seeking copies of the report.
In addition to concerns the school may have been unnecessarily destroyed, some locals fear the county will sell the school land to help restore its budget.
Gulfview is located at a popular intersection along Lakeshore Road, at the end of which developers are set to build hundreds of luxury condo units and two casinos.
"I'm not ever going to vote to sell that land to Paradise Island or whatever it is," said School Board member Packer Ladner, referring to Paradise Properties, a development firm planning to build 14 separate projects valued at more than $5 billion in Hancock County.

Added 7/19
(Gulfview and Charles B Murphy are being merged)
From Lakeshore Baptist Church:
School Uniform Drive
The children of Lakeshore head back to school in mid-August after their summer break. While crews complete the demolition of storm damaged Gulfview Elementary School, kids return to the make-shift temporary buildings housed 25 miles north of their community. The long commute, loss of friends, mixed school district, unfamiliar surroundings, and homework in FEMA campers leave families and teachers yearning for a little normalcy. The reinstituted dress code should provide a small step in that direction.

Lakeshore Baptist Church plans to distribute school uniforms as a wonderful ministry opportunity. You can help by sending dress code approved items to Lakeshore Baptist Church, 6028 Lakeshore Road, Lakeshore MS 39558. Please label as “School Uniform Drive.”

Dress Code
All shirts must be solid colors, white, navy blue, royal blue, or red.
Students may wear button down (Oxford/pointed collar or Peter Pan/Rounded collar), knit polo (2 or 3 button closure), or turtlenecks.
Shirts may be long or short sleeve, with or without pockets.
Shirts must have plain fronts without trim, lace, ruffles, pleats, etc.
Crop tops, Midriff shirts, or tight fitting shirts are not allowed.
Shirts may not carry visible trademarks, brand logos, writing, etc.
All pants, slacks, and shorts must be solid navy blue or khaki (tan, beige, or similar).
The length of shorts must be mid-thigh or longer.
Girls may wear caprise.
Pants, slacks, and shorts may be pleated or un pleated, cuffed or uncuffed, with or without elastic, but must be hemmed.
Wash-n-wear or permanent press fabric only; Denim, stretch material/spandex fabric, velour or fleece is not allowed.
Cargo or carpenter styles or bellbottoms are not allowed.
Very small trademark or logo is allowed.
Jumpers, skirts, culottes, and skorts must be solid navy blue or khaki (tan, beige, or similar).
The length must not be higher than four (4) inches above the top of the knee.
Jumpers may be V-neck or round neck.
Skirt style must be box pleat, knife pleat, A-line, kilt style or flared style.
Wash-n-wear or permanent press fabric.
Denim, stretch material/spandex fabric, velour or fleece is not allowed.
Cargo style skirts are not allowed.
Students may wear sweaters, vests,sweatshirts, or fleece in either cardigan-button down, pullover-scoop, or V-neck or zip up styles.
Outerwear must be solid colors, white, navy blue, royal blue, or red.
Shirts may not carry visible trademarks, brand logos, writing, etc.
Coats and jackets may have hoods and may be any color.
Trademarks and logos are allowed.
Coat length is limited to mid-thigh,
Trench coats are not allowed.

From the Seacoast Echo :

7/30 From WLOX The combined Gulfview Charles B Murphy Elementary school wasn't built to be beautiful. "Well, the trailers were nasty, and it was pretty hard to learn and stuff," says 5th grader Sidney Klein. Thrown together after hurricane Katrina destroyed their schools, Gulfview and Charles Murphy students were facing another year in temporary classrooms on this bare vacant lot behind Hancock County Middle School. "It was extremely difficult both physically and emotionally," says principal Jan White. But volunteers from the tiny town of Barnard, Vermont are changing all that. "We raised the money about 10 thousand dollars," says Eric Tobiason of Barnard, Vermont. "We put together this building and the people to come down and do it. Teaming with parents, teachers and other relief workers, volunteers with the Barnard Helping Hands Katrina Relief Project are building an outdoor classroom, and landscaping the campus in just one weekend. "They saw how the trailers looked on the red clay," says principal White. "And they saw where the students had lived and where the schools were, and they decided then they were going to do something for us." "This will give them a place to be outside so they don't have to be crammed into a trailer," says Tobiason. "It'll be a pleasant place to be." Parent Pam Lafontaine defines it another way. "New and a more positive atmosphere," says Lafontaine. That's something parents, teachers and students alike say they're looking forward to from the 2006-2007 school year. "This was the motivator for us to move from survival into the astectic aspect," says White. "This is going to be a great year for us. That's our plan. And this is the beginning of it." by Don Culpepper

Friday, May 12, 2006

Relief Information For Pearlington, MS

This blog will be used exclusively for Pearlington MS relief efforts. If you have anything you would like to have posted FOR Pearlington MS relief, please contact me at your earliest convenience at

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