Friday, October 20, 2006

West Hancock VFD Getting Help

Water is usually a welcome site for any firefighter. But Katrina's 13 foot storm surge was much more water than members of the West Hancock Volunteer Fire Department ever wanted to see.
Kim Jones, Chief of the West Hancock Volunteer Fire Department, took WLOX on a tour of his storm damaged fire station.
"In here, the water just wiped out the living quarters completely. We had 11 trucks total, nine of them were destroyed."
Heavy damage to the building left the department with nowhere to house the fire trucks that weathered the storm or those donated to the department.
"Ever since Katrina, we've had our trucks sitting outdoors in the atmosphere getting beat up by hail storms and the sun hitting the hose line, which the ultra violet rays were destroying those."
Chief Kim Jones says a new, temporary fire house will provide much needed shelter for the department's equipment and five fire trucks. FEMA paid for the $14,000 facility. Seabees from the Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 133 provided the manpower and construction expertise.
"It's projects like these that are great training for our Seabees. Junior Seabees get an opportunity to come out here and use those types of skills, 'cause it's similar type facilities that we're building out on deployment wherever we're at in the world," Seabee Commander Allan Stratman said.
"When we showed up here it still looked like the storm had just hit yesterday, so it was nice to come into an area that really wasn't getting much help and be able to help them get off the ground and get back on their feet," Seabee Andrew Brandmeier said.
Chief Jones says it will cost between $200,000 and $300,000 to repair their storm damaged station, so the temporary facility will likely be home for a long time.
FEMA is also funding a mini fueling station for the fire department. Right now, there are no working gas stations in Pearlington. Fire fighters have been driving 25 minutes to Bay St. Louis or Waveland just to gas up.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

New Site Being Established

11/7 One Family From Pearlington So far

Please print the picture to post in your neighborhood shopping areas for added assistance to these families. Right click on the picture to save, and then print with your color printer. It is sized for 8/5x11 paper.

As some of you may know, I've registered with the Make a Difference Day initiative being held on October 28, 2006. First, I urge you to do the same thing - is where you can do this.

Next, I registered a project that I had been planning for some time, and had only just decided to initiate. Because I want the Gulf Coast to have as much focus as possible, I am delaying the project by about a week. My project is called - Real People Relief and the address will be I have already registered the name, so no worries about a name change.

I know many of you work with individual families who, along with you, are struggling to find the money for their daily living and recovery efforts. I am able to highlight up to 1 family a week from each organization who contacts me - leaving the information of each family up as long as I receive 2 updates a month - whether from them or you. I am willing to post up to 3 current pictures (I'll touch them up if needed, and resize if needed) and will rotate pictures as new ones become available.

Individuals who contact me directly will be placed under my banner of Katrina Networking. All of you who send me information will have those families placed under YOUR organization's banner, along with your website and contact information, should a person choose who wants to help actually chooses to volunteer.

I will send you the links for each family (or person) whose information you send to me, so that you have me edit the information as needed. You will also be able to send this link to your reader/volunteer base so they can follow the information with less effort on your part.

Since I continue to receive an increasing number of emails from both organizations and citizens alike regarding the fact little money is trickling down to their level, I feel this is a very important thing to do. Add that most people are just wanting to know they are not forgotten, I feel this will be a very important emotional assistance to those we are all trying to assist.

With that, I will paste my questionnaire into this email and would great appreciate any participation on your part.

Leslie Holly

Questionnaire For Inclusion On Real People Relief

Information Posted on Your Page
- I would like first and last, but please note what you feel comfortable having posted for all to see.

Email: - only contact information public will have about you. You will decide if you want them to know your full information by emailing them.

Location: - where you were; where you are; where you plan to be in a year.

Number in Household
: - Please include pets. First names, sex and age of each person.

Situation: – brief paragraph of what you’ve been through, who you’ve applied for help with, what has happened in the last year.

Current Living Arrangements:
- FEMA Trailer, Apartment, House, Tent?

Help: - what help, if any, have you received thus far?

Photos: - Up to current photos – can be rotated through as new images are sent.

Needs: Please list preferences; if you’re going to want, you might as well want what you want! Below are examples and in the categories to be listed under.
Foods – non-perishable only
Paper Products – Napkins, Toilet Paper, Paper Towels, etc.
School Supplies – notebooks, pens, pencils, folders, etc.
Computer Supplies – paper, ink (give specific cartridges)
Clothing – list sizes and style color preference
Cleaning Supplies – Windex, Dishwashing liquid, Laundry detergent, etc.
Household Supplies – light bulbs, kitchen supplies (pans, pots, etc.)
Stores you shop at – for possible gift cards or gift registry

Information Not Posted
Full Name
Mailing Address
Phone Number

What I Need from you
Twice monthly updates: - The more often I can update your information, the more frequently your information will be reviewed. People view blogs like an ongoing story. They get hooked on new little tidbits. If I don’t receive regular updates, the information will be pulled after 8 weeks.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Free Legal Services

Coast residents dealing with post-Katrina woes took advantage of free legal services Thursday. The Mississippi Center for Justice set up shop in the storm devastated Pearlington community.
Mitchell Fairley lost his home and nearly his life when Hurricane Katrina covered his Pearlington home with water.
"It's been tough, but you've got to roll with the punches," Fairley said.
Finding the money to build a new house has proven difficult for Fairley and his family.
"Right now we're in a FEMA trailer. We appreciate it, but really we need our own home."
Fairley is seeking help from attorneys with the Center for Justice to help him qualify for an SBA loan.
"We have been denied the SBA loan, so I come here today to try to appeal it, and maybe we'll have better luck this time."
The Mississippi Center for Justice is offering free legal services to Coast residents who may not be able to afford legal representation.
"We've been to Pearlington twice, and if you look around, it looks like the storm just happened. Debris is still everywhere. Pearlington residents, it's a rural area and they are not likely to travel to Biloxi to get the legal aid, so we're coming to them," Center for Justice Attorney Crystal Utley said.
Since the storm, the center has helped thousands of residents tackle Katrina related troubles.
"We are still seeing a lot of FEMA issues, people who are still waiting for FEMA trailers. Besides that, I've seen probably ten contractor disputes this week. Some of them, the contractor is taking a down payment and never coming back, or they're doing an awful job. We're also seeing insurance disputes."
She says regardless of the Katrina related issue, the Center for Justice will be there to help for as long as the service is needed.
The Mississippi Center for Justice will hold its next walk-in workshop Thursday, October 19th at its Biloxi Office on Division Street from 4pm to 7pm.
For help before that date, you can make an appointment by contacting Crystal Utley at (601)-352-2269.

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