Monday, February 11, 2008

Progress of all kinds

You will really need to click on the photo on the left to get the full impact. This is our location in the park. There are rules and regulations, one of which is "no clotheslines". No problem for us, we brought our own, our rack on the truck!! And when one takes ones dogs on a walk, lets them run off their leashes and then has to deal with what they decided to roll in = no problem. We have an outside shower on the back of the trailer to take care of things just like that! The dogs were less than thrilled and even more confused as to why this was taking place outside! You just make things work, test your creativity and see what you can come up with! It can definitely put a new twist on humor!!

The other photo is the new highway 90 bridge going from here to Biloxi. This bridge was completely washed out and damaged beyond recognition in the storm. If any of you came down here you realized it was one of the most photographed places along the entire coast. It doesn't even look like the same place! One lane is open and we went across it for the first time Saturday. This one will stand!! The last 2 lanes are supposed to be open in April. What took nearly 20 minutes going up and around on interstate 10 now takes less than 10 minutes going directly across! I must admit it was a bit eerie driving across knowing what it looked like after the storm!

I received a phone call Saturday night from a very dear friend, Gary, in Illinois. This wonderful man has kept in contact with us so many times over the months. He had some questions and after a lengthy conversation I realized I haven't really explained what we are doing now that we are back in MS. My apologies and hopefully I can answer those questions for all of you.
This organization has been in existence since right after the storm. They work with the homeowners and direct them to the sources of funding. Each case is treated individually and personally. There are sources of funding in many different areas but there are also specific criteria for each source of funding. The homeowners need help getting to those sources. As with all organizations, the workers here are very overworked - but - have a heart to help and work more hours than are sometimes humanly possible. With many relief organizations running out of funds and closing their doors, their cases will be turned over to this organization and thus the workload will increase.
What Monty and I are doing is coming along side them doing whatever we can to "lighten the load". We are currently speaking with the homeowners on the phone, taking all the necessary information, sending them letters to explain what we need from them and assigning them a case manager. After they gather the needed info they call their case manager and Monty and I will make a visit to their home to assess their needs. We then get a materials listing of what they will need, take that list and obtain an estimate. This info then goes back to the case manager to do what they can to get funding to get the work done. IF -- we have volunteers and IF the volunteers can do the work we are truly blessed. If not, we do what we can to get a contractor, one that we have worked with and we trust, and schedule the work to be done -- after the funding has been approved and the monies are in hand. It's a detailed process, one that takes people who have a heart for the people and the patience to follow through the entire process. And getting the homeowner to understand all of the above takes more than a heart and patience, it takes God!
The other part of our work is still coordinating the incoming teams, getting them housed and lining up the work for them to do while they are here.
So, as you can see, we are more than busy! Most of the homeowners we are now working with are those who have completely lost hope of ever having a home again! They have tried to work the system themselves, got discourage and given up. Or they had no idea help was even out there (not for them anyway) and are at the end of their rope with no way out! They do take guidance and direction but most of all they just need that smallest ray of hope, that tiniest light at the end of the tunnel, and being told that the light is NOT an oncoming train!
I do hope this has cleared up some things for all of you. We are still in the process of trying to get, and keep, everything straight (impossible)! This is where your prayers and support are critical!! Without you doing that for us . . . Thank you and may God bless you for your hearts!
One final note, Monty's uncle Larry is in the final stages of loosing his battle with pancreatic cancer. We received a phone call last night saying he most likely would not make it through the night. The phone call this morning said the same thing for today. Please keep this entire family in your prayers as the pain is extreme and the loss is just around the corner!!
Blessings to all until next time . . . Susan and Monty

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