I’m sure you heard about the plane accident yesterday. During the candle ceremony I was comparing OSC to the pilot and the birds to Katrina. God lead that pilot down into the river. God lead down all the volunteers from OSC. So God blessed us with y’all.
You’ve done a job above and beyond. That comes from reaching high — setting higher limits. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts and souls. Maureen — thanks! Without your support, Norm could not work as hard and travel as much. Thanks to all your family for their support. Thanks lots and lots and Gob bless.
Thank you for all the help, conversation, time spent, spending your life and my life with each and every one of you. You don’t know what it’s like when you come back to nothing: no grocery store, no place to wash clothes and family and loved ones moved away and also dead from this event. And for you people to care enough to help us rebuild our homes, life, community fills our heart with so much love, joy, tears you can’t imagine how God works, He also sends people for me to help also. Thank you.
There are no words to express the sincere heartfelt gratitude we feel for every single person in OSC. Your dedication to us and St Bernard Parish goes far beyond what anyone could ever imagine. Y’all have given us hope again and we are finally starting to see light at the end of a long dark tunnel. And for that, our hats off to y’all.
Maria & Ricky Hernandez
Just a little thank you to show our appreciation for all your help, including the entire Southern Comfort gang, for getting our classrooms in ship shape and ready for school!
Peggy SeagoDirector, Gethsemane Preschool
Thanks for rebuilding our houses. We love them.
Many thanks to Dick Bonanno and the crew for your work and especially the kindness toward my Dad and Gracie. I did forward your email to Grace’s family as well, so that they might help make donations to defer the cost of the materials. My dad was very thankful at having your professional skills and knowledge of the project. Our family is grateful to you and the organization. What a service of kindness to show God’s love and care!
On behalf of All Souls Episcopal Church and community Center, the Episcopal diocese of Louisiana and the many homeowners Operation Southern Comfort has helped, I want to say THANK YOU, from the depths of our collective hearts. You all have come and given so unselfishly of your time, talent and your money. You have worked hard helping us to build our Church our homes, our gardens and effectively our lives. You have cut grass, cleaned, painted, framed, floored, hung and floated drywall, painted and any and everything we have asked you to do and more. You have come back in the evening and assisted us with our tutorial program. In addition, you have invited us to have meals with you. In a word, you have been wonderful Stewards. Operation Southern Comfort lives into the gospel. You have helped the poor needy and you have done it without regard to race, color, creed, or status. You have been and continue to be a great blessing to us and we are deeply grateful and we thank God for you, your wonderful organization and all the people who make you what we are. You have touched our lives and we will never be the same. May God continue his rich blessings upon each one of you.
I truly hope that some day, in some way, we will be able to do something for you.
Lonell WrightVicar, All Souls Episcopal Church & Community Center
Student Volunteer Responses
During this past week, the lives of the students from Jamesville-DeWitt HS, who attended the Gulfport Relief Trip, were changed forever. We experienced horrifying sights along the coast of the damage from Katrina, even 18 months after the storm occurred. None of us could believe how much rubble was still piled up after so long. But taking a look back, we each experienced something wonderful as well. Each of us got to work with a family whose house was destroyed, in some way, by the storm. We got to talk with the families and hear their life stories. You could sense a weight being lifted off of their shoulders, the moment they saw our cars pull up next to their house. And just by listening to their voices when they spoke, you could tell that they were so happy that we were there to help them. We made a difference in each of these families’ lives, but more importantly, they made a difference in ours. Knowing that we helped a family by giving them their home back, it’s just about the best feeling in the world.
Christa MullerFor the students of Jamesville-Dewitt HS
Nobody expected to experience the level of caring and connection that everyone formed with one another over the week. Most of us decided to take part in this trip to fulfill volunteer requirements or as an alternative to “sitting around.” By the end of the trip everyone gained a greater knowledge not only of the people and lives of those involved with the trip, but also of themselves. For example, some were apprehensive about the religious base of Southern Comfort but soon realized that religion was not the focus; the lives of the people in Gulfport Mississippi were more important. Others overcame fears of heights or reinvented themselves by meeting new people with totally separate views on life. I think overall we are different people, changed for the better. The infinite displays of compassion and selfless caring profoundly affected all of us and I’m sure many of us will be back once again.
Schyler OrrFor the students of Liverpool HS
This trip was life changing. It taught us to appreciate what we have in life, both material things and loving families. This trip brought us closer to each other and to people that we had never met before. The friendships that were built while on this trip will last a lifetime. We learned that even the smallest acts of caring can make someone smile and brighten up someone’s day. The people whose lives we were able to touch through both our labor and our conversations were so amazing to meet. We were able to hear their stories and even celebrate one woman’s birthday with her. All in all, this trip could not have been better, we got to know ourselves and others in an environment that was tirelessly hardworking, but also tirelessly funloving at the same time. We wouldn’t trade it for the world.
Brigid ByrnesFor the students of Manlius – Pebble Hill HS
9 days, so many miles, one team, one goal – HELP
When the car started, I wondered why.
Took a deep breath and let out a sigh.
Had no idea what was ahead of me,
No clue to what I would see.
We are just a bunch of teens
How could we help the thousands in New Orleans?
Such destruction beyond compare
Nearly hurt your eyes, but had to stare.
Yet, everyone who lived there was happy
When their situation was just downright crappy.
I was a volunteer
And to me it was clear
House number one two three three
You changed me.
The people living inside of you
And what they had to go through.
One living with cancer
And had thousands of dollars stolen from her.
Curse that contractor.
In those days, it wasn’t just memories and tears.
It showed another way life appears.
Never will I ever take my home for granted.
For in my mind, the broken hearts and homes will remain planted.
Lives were lost
At such a cost.
Hurricane Katrina was a storm
That left a city completely torn.
Every time I pray to the Lord.
I tell him to please never forget the Lower 9th Ward.