|by Andy Brimm '09 • October 19, 2005|
To say that going to Mississippi to help in the hurricane relief effort hit home is a truth in more than one sense. The hurricane actually did hit my home town of Pascagoula, Ms. and the willing response to help from the Wabash community touched my heart as well.
My house, along with most of my family member’s houses, was greatly damaged by the flood water from hurricane Katrina. Even though I had seen pictures of the damage before hand, seeing the disaster in person was still awe striking.
The attitudes of my fellow Wabash students, however, were very uplifting. Their willingness to help, energy, and work ethic sent a message of hope to me and everyone in the area. We successfully gutted my great-aunt’s house, a task that my family did not have the resources to do and probably saved my great-aunt thousands of dollars. It was hard work, but with the atmosphere created by Wabash men, we hardly noticed.
The experience went further than just good feelings and hard work. To see everyone’s homes destroyed and home-owners reactions to the realization that the insurance company would not pay for any of the damage caused by the floods, was incredible. The tears of neighbors sent a feeling that "yeah we are working, but this isn’t enough," into everyone’s hearts. This feeling helped motivate everyone to work harder and to accomplish a good deal with such a small group.
The devastation and work ethic were not the only moving factors of the trip. The gratitude of the victims and the self-knowledge that we made a difference in a lot of people’s lives was also very satisfying. After finishing a job, hearing all the people say "Thank you" and "We don’t know what we would have done if you weren’t here," sent a feeling of joy and accomplishment to all. And I think I speak for everyone by saying we wish the break was a lot longer so we could have made more of a difference in more people’s lives.