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Eyes on Katrina

A South Mississippi hurricane journal

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Helping Katrina victims all over 

Good morning, all. This comes from my cousin, Richard Lewis, who is the national PR manager for the Virginia Tourism Corporation. Katrina's diaspora has affected areas all over the place, and this is his story (and he's too good a guy to be pitching PR talking points in this situation, trust me): I wanted to pass along some news from Virginia that has to do with Katrina evacuees. By the middle of last week we were hearing that some of Virginia’s Welcome Centers were starting to see evacuees and refugees from the Gulf South. By the weekend the numbers were increasing steadily and the staff of our Welcome Center in Bristol became nearly overwhelmed. The local Red Cross unit was mobilized and they set up a command center at the Welcome Center where throughout the weekend they provided food, supplies, gas vouchers, etc. to those who needed them. They also sent people to the Red Cross shelter for a place to sleep and showers. The vending machines were no match for the demand and so the staff of the Welcome Center, prior to the arrival of the Red Cross, were buying snacks and water with their own money and handing it out to those who needed it. We heard of people coming in in states of shock, some breaking down emotionally, some in states of rage. The Red Cross had among their volunteers a licensed psychologist who did plenty of work. A few of us from the Richmond office went down there on Saturday to provide some relief to our Welcome Center staff. I worked there until midnight on Saturday and was able to chat with a number of folks from the Coast. Most all of these people are driving into or through Virginia heading to the homes of friends and relatives. One woman from Pascagoula (but a California native) seemed particularly affected by her experience, saying that California earthquakes were nothing compared to the hurricane. A woman from New Orleans (who works for the Saints) told me that in driving from New Orleans the first place she saw this kind of assistance was in Virginia. Virginia’s governor, Mark R. Warner, has been very active in mobilizing aid for the Gulf Coast and New Orleans. I had the chance yesterday to speak with him privately and to tell him that I am from the Gulf Coast and appreciated all that he is doing.

Be prepared for the next hurricane rita or find another one that's similar. As the Boy Scouts say: "Be Prepared"!
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Hi there, just wandering the blogosphere and I found your blog. I really enjoy how this all works.

This is one to watch.

Many thanks,

pictures on Hurricane Katrina
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Don Hammack

Don Hammack is a staff writer for the Sun Herald. He can be reached at

Sara Greer

Sara Greer is a news assistant for the Sun Herald.

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   •  August 2005
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