31 October 2005


Can't use their real identities on the Internet, so the guests had to be known by their codenames as (left to right) Savannah, Livonia, Valdosta, Braxton, Rosecrans, Vidalia, and Miz Vikkie.

Dinner Guests
(sorry about my flash)

Miz Vikkie: She's lovely and she picked up the tab. What a treat for me.

Miz Vikkie: in the National Park, which is regrettably not dedicated to Her.

30 October 2005

Four Footed Legend: Rocky

"Ease up Rocky, Cool Your Jets"

"Simmer Down Rocky"

Some people would say Rocky was owned by a family that lives in Chattanooga.
This may be true while he is small.
Later it will be more like Rocky owns the family that has to take care of Chattanooga so he'll have a place to play.

29 October 2005

Third leg from Birmingham to Chickamauga

28 October 2005

Five Points in the Steel City.

Burnin and churnin through Hot- lanta

27 October 2005

Positive News

Mainstream journalism will not admit it: They seem to be addicted to their own cocaine,
which is the sensationalism of a hot story. "If it bleeds, it leads", they say.

Where do they keep finding the new journalists willing to play the game, ie the exaggeration and hype games?

I wish my rants were new or original. Since I've been "on the ground" as they say, in the devastated zones, I've seen the humanitarian side so massively under-reported.

But here's a positive example.

This is What I'm Talking About


Spending day at alma mater.

ramblin now ; rebuildin soon

First leg of third journey. Hampton Roads to Greenville South Carolina

hats off gentleman, a genius !

Chuckles lets me use his national net account to blog on the road.

24 October 2005

Committee Member, or Audience Bench-Warmer?

Sunday at this meeting I heard about the start of a big new project. It sounded good, sounded like something I wanted to be in on, sounded like a winner. I heard the details, saw the plans, and got the low down.

But something sat backwards in the scene, and I came away confused. All three people in on the plan had my phone number.All three had known ( I think ) of my desire to be in on the ground floor of this idea. Details of conversations came to mind, and I had spoken of this idea in the germination phase more than a month ago. The original idea wasn't mine, to be honest, since it came from a public web-site, but our group had decided to participate. I had volunteered to be the guy on the ground for this initiative, and with my job situation the way it is now, I have the time. One person had mentioned a related phone call 2 weeks ago, I guess I didnt realize that was when the switch was made. When I heard about the phone call I said "okay", and must not have realized that was the moment of just handing over the reins. I had no idea that one small topic implied the whole project in their mind.

So somehow, some time when I was gone to Katrina Land, the person giving the presentation had taken over the idea as their own. Someone else had given them the go ahead. And the others who knew what I planned had nodded along with them. And thats fine, like I said, the idea came off the web, not my intellectual property, anyone could do this job. Yet none of these people had emailed or phoned me along the way that whole month. So there I sat, in the audience instead of on the committee. I just couldnt figure out why I was so far to the right, way off "the loop".

Yes there are no names, details or clues on this rant, I know. But the details have to be fuzzy so no one gets offended.
I'm still trying to figure out if I'm offended. After if all, if others are doing volunteer work I would have, doesnt that give me more free time?

What a Liberty!

Anyways, I'm going to continue with my plans, which are to volunteer as much time as my boss gives, to go back south to assist others screwed over on the Gulf Coast.

21 October 2005

Katrina my Old Friend

Well the call I had been expecting came today: "We liked your volunteering after Hurricane Katrina, will you come deploy for Hurricane Wilma?" No surprises there. I've been at my regular job for a few days, and when I told my boss what the call was, his only reply was "MACH SCHNELL!" , which is his way of saying go ahead. What a great guy. No, greater than that even. Today he also helped to upgrade my clunky old laptop. My old computer was so old I nicknamed it "Atari".
Atari got the job done, but man was she old. Kind of like her owner, actually. Actually upgrade is too weak of a term, let's say replace clunky old Atari. The new platform is a sleek sexy import with turbo-handling. IBM think-pad. I'll probably nickname her Katrina or something stupid like that, cause she's got "ceramic, double-rotor two-wheel drive, computer-controlled anti-lock brakes, 12,000 rpms", and other jargon I can't bore you with right now.

After all, you may be wondering how did I answer said phone call above? Let me tell you, I had to think and pray and chat this up with the wise counsel. But not for long really, I had a gut feeling how to answer as soon as I heard the question. Maybe I should have on on-line poll:

How Did the Rebuilder Answer, Click Here to Vote Now ! Then if enough people vote the other way, I'd switch. Or not, that Wouldnt be prudent. Unh-Uh. Not at this juncture. If I ran this one-man show by polls and statistics I'd have no hair left by now.
But your theoretical poll choices would be:
- Rush over to Wilma;
- What Happened to Rita;
- Go Back to Katrina;
- Sign up for Fema;
- Go back to Bookstore;
Can I stall this out any longer? Do you care?

I did pick one of the above. Let's eliminate what I didnt choose, and why.

The easy outs are FEMA and staying at my regular bookstore:
- I know nothing of FEMA and I've been a public servant before, no thanks.
- I have leave from my bookstore job, so why sit still?
- I assume any Rita survivors are still being helped, so I choose closer destinations, sorry.
- I also assume Wilma survivors will get fresh assistance as CNN and FOX help focus attention on the latest
and greatest story. After all, a fresh disaster will generate viewership, not like those old issues.
So I'm left looking at what seems like unfinished business to me in the aftermath of Katrina.

I used to live on the Gulf Coast, so I'm going back there to offer more assistance. Some of those places resemble the third world. The SBC DR committee has shut down the Slidell site where we worked before. But I'm sure more needs to be done in the flooded areas. Biloxi took a large storm surge, see? People keep correcting me when I say tidal wave, but I'm sure the average Biloxi resident doesnt care right now. Almost all my attempts to contact people in Biloxi have failed so far, but I havent done the slogging through the phone book yet, which comes monday. Step three is just to drive the heck down there, and say HEY! But not yet.

19 October 2005

Big Summary for Phase One

CONFESSIONS of a YELLOW HAT=================================
After Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, my boss let me go on extended leave of absence to assist those in need. Not having Red Cross training, and not wanting to go by myself or with a government group left me with few avenues to approach. Since I didnt know where exactly to go, how, or who to help, I linked up with the experienced deacons from my church, men who had been into the aftermaths of previous hurricanes, especially the four that hit Florida in 2OO4.

The Red Cross houses people, doctors them, feeds them, and gives them money when their area gets hit with disaster. These activities grant them their justly deserved fame as helpers of the needy. What you don’t often see published is that since the 9O’s, for around 85% of the Red Cross feeding, the cooking has been performed by SBC volunteers. Red Cross vehicles, called ERVs, travel routes twice daily through affected sections of a town delivering hot meals, drinks, snacks, and water. One of these trucks (really its a modified ambulance) can service an entire neighborhood, distributing 45O meals or more. And the ERV does it twice a day: lunch and dinner. In a pinch, the ERV can distribute supper instead of dinner, especially when disaster hits a rural or southern area.

The Red Cross has large tractor-trailer rigs, with specially modified trailers that expand into mobile kitchens. One is called “Spirit of America”. But there’s only a few of them. When disaster spreads on major areas, such as Katrina hitting a 4OO mile wide swath from Port Arthur Texas to Mobile Alabama; more of these feeding units are needed than even the mighy ARC can cover. Several years ago the idea hatched for the SBC to make their own kitchens. These run in a fashion similar to the Red Cross types, with some methods borrowed from military-style portable kitchens. The Army and Air Force can drop in just about anywhere in any conditions and feed 500 people on 6 hours notice, so there’s lessons learned from them. So different churches and sections of the SBC have different “units”, with a variety of jobs to perform. Obviously the kitchen units I’ll discuss in detail, (40 people) since I’ve gone with one for three weeks, and I don’t want to waste the last three paragraphs you just slogged through reading.

Shower Trailers are pulled in as a unit, allowing the workers to get clean daily (5 people) . Another interesting unit type that comes along is the Laundry (5 people) . Using portable generators for power, they clean the clothes for 2 types of people: the other workers from the units, and anyone that comes up and asks. None of these 3 units functions without good running water, so Purification units (5 people) also travel into the affected areas. They have generators and pumps, and a wide variety of filters and germ-killers, and they can turn almost any crud from a ditch into cool clear refreshing water. The water-purifiers set up first and run until a town’s water gets pronounced “safe” again. Other types of units include Chain-Saw, which clears roads and houses, and cuts trees for safety.(8-12 people) Next unit would be the Mud-Out, (8-12 people) which uses shovels, squeegees, hoses, and whatever it takes to clear out homes and buildings affected by flood waters, which usually leave behind inches of mud piled behind their wake. Also they pull out the sheet-rock, carpets, and furniture that mildew and rot when homes get water-logged. Interspersed with all these units are the Chaplains, who come along to be counselors to those affected in trauma, liaisons to affected churches, and advisors to those working in the units.

All told, from the units I listed above, that would at a minimum of about 9O people working in a neighborhood. Sometimes more come along obviously. The one church we worked from in Slidell had 3-5 chainsaw units, 2 showers, and two mud-outs, as well as the one kitchen, water, and laundry, that made for over 2OO volunteers. Four additional “units”, 3 from the Mennonites doing chainsaw & mud, and one from Habitat for Humanity also worked from the church site. So I was a very small cog in a huge machine. Actually it reminded one of either an ant nest or possibly a beehive. I worked the kitchen.

The kitchen feeds all those workers, say 2OO, three meals a day. Also it feeds, soup kitchen style, anyone who walks or drives up, or works at the church proper, at lunch-time and/or dinner-time. That averaged 3OO more people per meal. That’s 1200 meals per day so far kids, and that’s just one site, and we’re not even really started. Remember the ERVs from last week’s homework? Also “my” site furnished 12 ERVs with their food (average 400 meals each), and it sent meals to 2 gymnasium shelters (avg. 2OO meals each), and supplied foods for another “meals on wheels” type program that assisted the homebound. (approx 1OO meals). That’s 7OOO meals per day average, just from one site. Some days the meal count topped 1O,OOO, but always a consistent 7K average for the 6 weeks after Katrina.

So for three weeks I worked that Slidell kitchen (one in cannery row and 2 weeks in Inventory). The can area opens the dozens of can required to heat up, say green beans, for 35OO people. These are the large #1O cans that schools use. They weigh 7 pounds apiece and come in a case of six weighing 45-5O pounds total. I know these numbers by heart, I assure you. If an entire meal comes canned: let’s say an entre of beef stew (80 cases) , a vegetable of corn (40 cases), and a dessert of vanilla pudding (40 cases). That’s nine hundred sixty cans to be hefted, opened, dumped, cooked, and disposed of properly. Usually they didnt have entirely canned meals (say salad) but that depended on the supply trucks and fresh foods available.

The can-opening team, (Cannery Row) consisted of Vikkie, four other people that seemed to change out, and myself. Mind-bending heat and back-aching labor were the norm. There’s lots of pix and blurbs describing that week, elsewhere on my blog. Looking back now, I’m quite grateful for the experience. The work was relatively mindless, so it left time for chatting, singing, or having conversations with Vikkie, while still working. I’ve never had Gatorade before that week, but I learned to love it. How strange it is to me that it doesnt taste good to me at all, except when I have a dire thirst. Or a dire infernal thirst. Or maybe a dire infernal giant thirst. Of fear and flame. If you just breezed by the last 3 sentences, don’t worry about it, they’re inside jokes for my people at work.
But back to Vikkie: Talking to her became as refreshing as the Gatorade. I could tell you the names of the Other four on Cannery Row, but I’m not sure they’d want their names used on the Net. In between bouts of can-opening one can drift into other areas of the camp or kitchen. Now some would collapse and swig up all the water or Gatorade they could get. But some would volunteer to help other sections. There was always piles of work to do, from 6am to 7:45pm. Or 4:45 am if you worked the breakfast crew. Others greatly appreciated any help to their tasks in the hot sun-shine. Being a southern-style winter-hater, I didnt mind the heat, and remained grateful that Katrina had at least not hit during winter time. I cannot imagine those jobs while wearing sweaters. Vikkie would often wander into the kitchen itself to help out. I admired her for that even though it meant I could not chat as much with her directly.

Vikkie may figure prominently in future episodes of Rebuilder. Who knows.

18 October 2005

Widespread Effects from Katrina May Still Be Felt

When I went grocery shopping, there were
Just a few older Dole products on shelves in local stores.
probably those came from warehouses.

I'm no expert on food-service and shipping, though.

Dole has its main operations coming through the Gulf Coast.

The attentive among us may remember a hurricane went through there six weeks ago.

17 October 2005

Borrowed Article

SBC DR from CT

Home > Christianity Today Magazine > Churches & Ministries > Missions & Ministry

Christianity Today, November 2005
Hurricane Heroes

Government may have been tripped up by Katrina and Rita,
but the Southern Baptists, among others, are standing tall.

by Tony Carnes posted 10/21/2005 09:00 a.m.

Nga Phan, a Vietnamese-born woman and non-practicing Buddhist, worked in a casino as a card dealer until Hurricane Katrina hit on August 29. She now marvels at how quickly Southern Baptists set up a field kitchen the day after the storm, cooking lunch for 5,000 in Biloxi, Mississippi. "They are doing a lot to help people," she told Christianity Today. "They are the only ones doing that in our neighborhood." The Baptists of Mississippi have often opposed honky-tonk evils like gambling. But Phan decided to overlook that in joining the volunteer corps at First Baptist Church in Biloxi. This story is not unusual. Throughout the Gulf Coast region, thousands of Christians showed up unannounced with food, Porta Potties, diapers, and prayer. Historians may judge this mobilization as the largest in the nation's history. Opportunity Orientation
Americans associate the Red Cross and the Salvation Army with home-front disaster relief on a grand scale. After Katrina, much of the $1 billion in private giving for relief efforts went to those two high-profile organizations. The Southern Baptist North American Mission Board (namb) has been less known for disaster relief. No longer. The extent of Southern Baptist relief preparation was clearly evident after Katrina hit in late August and the less potent Hurricane Rita in late September. From Mobile, Alabama, to Houston, Texas, the story was often the same. The leaders of a damaged church couldn't call or email anyone and were praying about what to do. More often than not, the brakes of a big truck pulling into the parking lot punctuated the end of their prayers.

That's exactly what happened in Hammond, Louisiana. Pastor Leon Dunn and his leaders regrouped to pray and a truck from Texas was waiting for them in the parking lot. "I couldn't believe it," he told CT. "It was such a joyous sight. I thought people had forgotten us. I just broke down." Southern Baptists now field the third-largest privately funded relief corps in the United States. By Thursday, September 1, in Mobile, Alabama, the Baptists were prepared to serve 20,000 meals a day for ten days. By the end of September, they had prepared more than 5.1 million meals at 56 sites, a million meals more than they had prepared after Hurricane Andrew in 1992. The chart-busting disaster response by Southern Baptists began in 1966 with a "buddy burner" stove and one man's vision to help the helpless after catastrophes. In 1966, the Southern Baptist Convention appropriated $25,000 for relief preparations. Then, after the category 5 Hurricane Beulah hit the Gulf Coast in 1967, Bob Dixon demonstrated the utility of a camping-style "buddy burner." It's a single-flame stove that cooks one-pot meals. Southern Baptists warmed to the idea of becoming food specialists in relief efforts. In 1971, they rolled out their first fully outfitted tractor-trailer rig with a field kitchen, ham radio, bunks, and an electric generator. By 2005, they were able to field 500 cooking units with 30,000 volunteers. The Southern Baptist relief effort is mainly the inspiration of Dixon. The Texan combined a love for camping, baseball, and government disaster and mobilization jobs into a philosophy of ministry. Instead of programs driving the church, Dixon said that the church should be "opportunity-oriented." For Dixon, the gospel is itself event-oriented in that Christ is a disruptive event in people's settled lives. Christians, whose lives have been turned upside down by faith, should have the best background for handling a catastrophe. Dixon's overall vision is event-driven, but his modus operandi is detailed organization, like what he found in the Navy. The Baptists have almost everything color-coded and computer-counted ("35,422 showers provided!"). White hats direct the blue hats who direct the yellow hats and everyone else.

Tom Cline from Temple Baptist
Their efforts are specialized, focusing on food preparation and certain types of cleanup. One crew drives up with a tractor-trailer that breaks down into cooking stoves, cafeteria-sized mixing pots, washing basins, and water-storage units. A communications crew and truck shoots up a short-wave antenna and uses cell-phone connections for e-mail. Another group rolls up with a bathroom, shower, and laundry unit. Chain saw and clean-up crews arrive with their modules. At night, the Southern Baptists gather to talk about the day, letting the emotions flow, and this is followed by prayer. The leaders say this practice is critical because of the stress of disaster relief. That stress may include the difficulty of working outdoors in extremely hot weather and the emotional drain of seeing so many hurting people day after day. Grace and Courage
As rescue operations proceeded, stories began to emerge. In the aftermath of Katrina and Rita, many survivors credited unlikely heroes who rescued them or gave them shelter. In Biloxi, 13-year-old Phillip Bullard leaped to action as adults panicked when water rushed through every wall of their home. A neighbor, Michael Lee, said that the storm started to "sound like a howling wolf." An elderly neighbor who had experience with several hurricanes said he knew that something unusually fierce had arrived as "everything started to shake and rattle like I have never heard it before." The young man cradled the youngest child, floated the oldest adult out the window, and coaxed his twin sister to abandon the house and trust him for guidance. He led his mother and grandmother over a path of almost floating furniture. All told, he saved more than a dozen people. His mother, Vanessa Posey, said, "I just thank God for Phillip. We would not be here but for the grace of God and the courage of my son." In Pascagoula, Mississippi, a small city at the eastern edge of the storm, David Bardwell's friends at Light House Baptist Church tell how he saved 21 lives. Bardwell himself declines to talk about his heroics, preferring to give God the entire spotlight.

Bardwell stayed to watch over his mother's tenants who couldn't afford to evacuate. As the storm roared across town with a 22-foot storm surge and 125-mph winds, Bardwell heard people screaming for help. With water up to his neck and waves pounding, Bardwell persuaded his brother to go with him to help. Between them, they brought 21 survivors into a building on higher ground, First Baptist. The Southern Baptists soon set up a disaster station there. Associate Pastor Dennis Smith, who stayed at the church during the storm, is an example of the many Southern Baptist heroes. Smith, who suffers from the aftereffects of polio, is no newcomer to adversity. He was determined to best Katrina. He told CT, "Ninety percent of our members' houses were destroyed—it breaks the heart—but no one was killed." Moving around via an electric scooter, Smith visited the ill and injured and talked to the devastated. When necessary, he would unbend with great effort from the scooter and walk to comfort the grieving—countless times each day.

On the edges of Pascagoula, Mississippi, Pastor Russell McDonald threw out the baby grand piano, the sound system, the carpets, and the pews. But he believes that God saved his house in order to give him the task of making the church bigger and better. Standing amid dead rabbits, fish, and a live alligator, McDonald said that after the storm he told himself, "Hey, brother, listen, God knew I have a congregation to care for and a need to rebuild. "He saved my home for the task of binding up the wounds. That is what the gospel is all about."

Across the Red River from Shreveport in Bossier City, Louisiana, First Baptist Church helped care for Katrina survivors in the CenturyTel Center, a venue for concerts and big gatherings. First Baptist met Katrina evacuees' needs ranging from food to furniture. As Katrina survivors moved to more permanent dwellings, Rita prompted a second exodus into Northwest Louisiana. First Baptist receptionist Kaira Krysinski said Rita evacuees flowed steadily into the church seeking help. "They just see this large steeple from the highway, and they pull off because it's a symbol of hope."

From Saddleback Church (affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention) in Orange County, California, Rick Warren and a team flew to the Gulf Coast. They immediately promised to pay the salaries of at least 400 pastors of destroyed churches for three months.

Warren said, "Our hope is particularly to bring white and African-American churches together." As of September 29, 371 churches across the country had volunteered to help, and 60 churches had been paired.

Warren says that Katrina created an opportunity for black and white churches to cooperate. "African Americans are getting our top priority." Although there is still distrust, Warren says that during his meetings with pastors in the Gulf Coast, he sensed a new willingness to work together. "Just talking to them, you can tell there is a new openness. Everyone realizes that a disaster doesn't discriminate."

The California pastor feels a bond with Katrina survivors. "This is our sixth disaster that we have dealt with," he says. "There was the Los Angeles riots, the Laguna fires, and the mudslides. We also became involved with 9/11 and the Asian tsunami."

His wife, Kay, is widely admired for the way she talks about and has handled personal suffering. In Baton Rouge the week after the storm, woman after woman, girl after girl, came up to her. They did not talk about their own Katrina suffering, but usually just thanked Kay for giving them strength and hope by sharing about her bout with breast cancer and everyday struggles.

Kay said that between touching and hugging, "God has taught us the value of presence, choosing to suffer with people." The Warrens say that they don't have chain saws and kitchens like the Southern Baptist rescue teams. But they do have a huge network of people willing to be a presence and raise some money. "What we have to offer is a shoulder and our heart," Kay says. "Disaster agencies come and go, but we want to be a partner of the local churches." In the California mountains, the members of Lake Gregory Community Church in Crestline contemplated the fate of the coastal peoples caught in Katrina. They remembered how two years ago, they too had to flee their homes due to a natural disaster—lethal brush fires. They viewed the Gulf Coast disaster as if it were their own. A church related to Lake Gregory Community sent a man in a car with supplies to Pascagoula, Mississippi. One of his small-group members had a relative there. "I have heard this story ten times. People got up and moved to help," a small-group member recounts. Dave Holden, the pastor of Lake Gregory Community, volunteered his church to be a helpmate to Calvary Baptist Church in Pascagoula. The Mississippi church was devastated. "Before the hurricane, he had 90 people in his church," says Holden of Pastor Johnny Beaver. "He had 9 last Sunday. Half of his congregation has lost 100 percent of their housing." Holden called Beaver in Pascagoula. His eagerness to help tripped out faster than the stranger in Mississippi could believe.

"Hey, Johnny, I live out in California and my church wants to pay your salary." There was dead silence on the telephone line. "Johnny?" "Who are you?" the Mississippi pastor drawled out suspiciously. Holden then allowed his explanation to catch up with his enthusiasm. He explained his own church's experience with disaster and his connection with Warren's Purpose-Driven disaster network. Then, to Holden's consternation, Pastor Johnny said he had to go and abruptly hung up the phone. Holden was speechless. Pastor Johnny explained in a subsequent phone call that he had needed to attend to an emergency: A member had just discovered that his house was filled with mud. Pastor Johnny told Holden he was grateful that he could now help channel some funds to his members. Holden listened in astonishment. "Man, you are either the real deal or nuts to hang up on me," the Californian said. The two pastors prayed together over the phone and promised to keep in touch. Another church also provided a trailer house for Pastor Johnny and his family. Speaking with CT, Holden reflected on his phone call with Pastor Johnny. He realized it wasn't about money. The call was about grieving hearts and how love binds up.

"You can hear that the money is just a start," Holden said. "There is something about being present that allows the thought: I am not alone. That is priceless." Tony Carnes, based in New York City, is a senior writer for Christianity Today. Additional reporting by Deann Alford in Austin, Texas.

by Tony Carnes from Chr. Today, used without permission or challenge.

16 October 2005

Other People's Pix, but the flowers Belong to We The People

Mrs.Krissi's Post-Katrina Slidell Picture Album:

Mrs.Krissi's Picture Album

Egyptoid went to the Rose Garden @ Warwick in Newport News

Received even more support from Dave S.
Thanks to everyone who has made these trips possible.

15 October 2005

Other People's Photos

Some of the people at the Slidell Louisiana work site were net-savvy,
and have posted excellent pix:  (link rot)

re-run of a picture of the rebuilder actually having done hard work:
of course this ruins one thing, since now my boss knows such
a thing is possible from me...

they work for me, that's all I can say...

12 October 2005

Not Strictly Rebuilding at this Time

Regular day at work, then travel to Montpelier.

Doing tourist itinerary with Mom, plus some days where I work:

The Book Store

We sell so much more than comics, its easier to abbreviate it as a book-store.

here's what it looks like on the outside:

here's what it looks like on the inside:

11 October 2005

That's why they call it a crash course!

Usually among the many volunteers, there would be a qualified fork-lift operator.
But for one 3-day stretch I was it.

So after some quickie training I managed to not seriously hurt anyone.

The Vanna White of Red Cross

Just as Vanna shows you which letter:

here we see the lovely Sarah telling which food
gets loaded where....

the littlest Mennonite

Health regulations require all workers to cover their hair.

This little angel had no hat on, so the leader loaned her a hat.
She did not abuse the authority the blue hat gave her.

I have no photos of the Mennonite men because they worked from
sun-up to sun-down. The ones working with us were from
Christian Disaster Relief. Although Mennonite Disaster Services
is also a large organization that goes into hurricane areas to help.


Busy work in the church-yard.
Truck Off Loading, Fork-Lift hauling,
Red-Cross ERVs being loaded.


picture of me driving others to airport or rent-a-car center.

You'd look serious too. The traffic was unbelievable.
Many people couldnt work, or were out shopping
with their FEMA money. Plus you had to hurry during
day to beat the curfew.

Rehearsal Session

Singing practice of the DISASTER QUARTET.

Whenever the evening service needed us (usually not
given the wonderful singing of the Mennonites)
we would sing some old hymns. We sounded okay.

One evening, true to our name, one
of knocked over a music stand and scattered glass
all over. But we vaccumed it up later.

SALUDO! from Virginia Beach

here's the kitchen crew from Va.Beach

Johnnie, Donna, Val, Beth, and Tigger

Day back in Virginia. Getting mother from airport on flight arranged pre- Katrina. Must do homework & e bay later.

Hurricane Mascot

One of the toy donations my group took to the kids down there got diverted to the front window of the
Red-Cross desk.
Its a soot sprite, a friendly little dirt-ball
from the Miyazaki movies.
Seemed appropriate given how messed up the area had been.

Blue Hat Working Hard

Blue Hat Working Hard:
photo of the Blue Hat actually doing work.

Of course he's not wearing his blue hat at the instant of the
photo, so some skeptics still doubt what is being shown here.

Lovely Serving Ladies

Another Crew of Volunteers.

10 October 2005

Martha's Tips for Hurricane Etiquette

Here's Egyptoid enjoying the latet issue of

Martha's Tips for Hurricane Etiquette :

1. First, get important papers and special photos in order.
and bring extra napkins or moist towelettes for those
who may have misplaced theirs in the Cat 5 winds.

2. Think ahead and take video or photos of your property before you leave.
Also, the finer stores will provide a registry service where many can view your list
of china and other necessities needing replacement.

3. If staying with relatives is not an option, consider booking a room in a hotel or motel in another nearby town or state. Take your own freshener spray, such as Febreze.
One little spritz can overcome an entire week of thoughtless housekeeping.

4. Unfortunately, it is unlikely that your pet will have a place in a motel or hotel.
First check out pet-friendly hotels in your area. Smaller pets can be carried in some of the larger Corning-Ware cozies.

5. Designate a spot, in the hall closet, to keep a bag of clothes for each person in the household.
If somehow the closet isnt large enough for that and the Dept 56 items, you must budget for remodeling now!

6. Along with overnight clothes, consider stocking your Hurricane Kit with the following: extra cash, doilies, generator, pet-safe batteries, matching flash lights, battery operated television, italian bottled water, scented and unscented toilet paper, non-perishable foods such as Toblerone and Fancy Blueback Salmon from Oregon, can opener, a small cooler, frosted cranberry candles, prescription medicines and any other remedies you use regularly such as Botox; and if you have small children - diapers, baby wipes, and American Girl books.

7. Count on the power being out for at least a day or two. Remember that ATM's will be non-operating,. bring some cash. Often times cigarettes can be used as a strong barter item, similar to a prison type economy, but remember to haggle dynamically. Since PS2 games and free-cell no longer operate, dominoes or a deck of cards come in handy! Arts and crafts, crayons and previously downloaded china-patterns for coloring pages are always great distractions for the kids .

8. If you decide to tough out the storm, stay downwind in your home. This means if the wind is hitting the living room windows, go to the room opposite the living room. Curtains may need to be pressed again or possibly dry-cleaned. Lemon-juice can remove many stains.

9. Plywood is a 'hot' commodity for those of who decide to stay. Boarding up windows that will take the brunt of the wind and rain is the wisest decision. Again, cigarettes may be able to trade easily for plywood. If you can afford it, have them installed by a professional. As time allows you can decorate the plywood with patterns appropriate for the season. Hurricanes come from June to November, so any number of exciting ideas can be had to theme up your plywood windows.

10. Finally, STAY INSIDE.
But if you must go out to personally video-tape the destruction ,
wear one the nicer rain-coats, such as the Cerulean Traveller, by LL Bean.
That's all from Martha, thanks for reading!

K_T is the Man

Here's the Rebuilder with K_T:

we've just popped open a cold one to relax after the hard day.
Anheuser Busch cans filtered water for charity every year at this time.
and there was a mountain of it at our Red Cross site.
K_T had lots of good ideas, a sharp wit, and didnt seem to mind doing
the physical challenge presented. Thanks to D. for the pic.


Passing through Atlanta...

people wave and smile when they see this sign:

More Loot & Shoot Signs

this one was slightly more hospitable,
for it says "Come On In and Die"

One Last View of Slidell, Damaged

My Group is Heading home!

08 October 2005

Busy Area

How many hats can I wear in one day? The Lord has given me strength & patience every to do this work.

picture shows the donations tent before Hurricane Rita had it taken down.

Wearing Many Different Hats

Fork-Lift Operator

Ever wonder what two tons of water looks like?

07 October 2005

This must be 1 for the Home-Owners Association

Saw huge damage in Gulf port. US-90 still blocked to the west.

You have to admire the retention of a sense of humor in this family.

06 October 2005

Loaded Train with Downed Power Line in Fore-Ground

The kitchen prep work here keeps me so busy I havent done any recon work yet, excepting the " word of mouth" kind.

photo taken across Lake Ponchartrain...

Further Adverts for Gatorade

Aaaah the barter economy!
I've got real butter, he's got starbucks coffee, the red cross guy has gatorade: lets deal!
Trading and scrounging are fine, price gouging is not, IMHO.

picture shows the veg. crew hiding from the heat after supper was fixed...

Donations Not Just of Food

Over eighty percent of the disaster relief food served by the Red cross is prepared by the SBC.

picture shows the "Grace Mart", where people could get free
items such as deodorant, shampoo, sunscreen, and other
"health & beauty aids" that they had lost.
When you lose your house, you lose all that's in it.

05 October 2005

Grace Smooths the Way, Eases the Day.

Very full day. Unloaded four trucks of ice and food . Math errors from the kitchen made life interesting. Didnt step on a rusty nail
Well I DID step on one, but after it pierced my shoe, the pointy tip
went in between my toes. So I was merely perturbed, but un-injured, thankfully.

picture shows the next wave of donations.

04 October 2005

Break Day

The rebuilder had to take a break today.
I developed a cough, probably from being sweaty in the meat lockers,
plus my muscles needed a day of rest.

So I hitched a ride up to the local coffee shop
that had internet, and here I am posting pix
of this weeks adventures.

poster in that local coffee place, CC's. Its no Port City Java,
but its okay, and it works.

03 October 2005

Help Came In From All Over

Met a Red Cross volunteer from my original hometown of Muncie IN today.

Most all red cross people, the ones on the street that is,
are unpaid volunteers burning their vacation or personal time
to help others.

Top Picture is Lance Corporal,
who volunteered his leave time:

Bottom Picture shows a montage of Red Cross chapters.
this is just the ones helping at this particular location!

Don't Try this at Home. Closed Arena. Trained Professionals.

Here I am, being raised by Rod, up to 15 feet up in the air on a fork lift,
to fix the top of the trailer lock, with the Attitude Adjuster.

photos by WORTHY, the lovely photo-journalist

02 October 2005

Some People Don't (or won't) Understand Charity

Local union attempts to shut down kitchen, but were kindly shown the door. The people we help cant afford restaurant food anyways.

Said Lunch Line:

01 October 2005

Donations in Kind, and kind donations

Blue Hat pro tem had a lot to do. Lady donated jewelry.

picture shows the shower trailer setup.

masking tape rank marker

Another promotion! The bosses left for the day and put me in charge for now. This reminds me of a book: IF I RAN THE ZOO!

So I took a piece of blue masking tape, wrote the word "blue" on it,
and stuck it to my yellow hat. Someone has to be responsible at all times,
so for a while it was me.

7OOO meals a day produce a lot of dirty dishes.
So many so they must be cleaned via pressure hose!

One Month after Katrina, Still the needs Go On _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Home made cinnamon rolls from the lady Mennonites & accapella gospel from the Mennonite men. All else is work work work work work.

Picture of Mennonite ladies and Yellow Hats serving food in 95' heat.

Hurricane Humor

What with the feeding and relief being
a huge operation, sometimes the yard got untidy.