A wonderful team from North Carolina A&T State University came to Pass Christian, MS at the beginning of March 2007. This team prepared before arriving by working with various departments within the university to gain experience on certain aspects of construction work. For example, their maintenance department set up a "how-to" clinic on wiring outlets. Dr. Palmer and the rest of the NC A&T team arrived ready to work and to do as much as they could for the recovery efforts.
Some of the team members found themselves underneath houses stabilizing foundations for new homes. Unfortunately, one of the homes had a great deal of cat droppings and made for an unpleasant work morning until tarps arrived. Others worked on removing an old roof, making repairs, and then putting a new roof on. Part of the team comprised of doctors and nurses who made special visits to families to check on how they were doing from a medically perspective, both physically and mentally. This allowed for a unique type of visitation and encouragement for these families.
One special project that this team undertook was adopting a street in Pass for the week. They visited the homeowners that were back on their street, they picked the street clean of debris that had yet to be removed from Katrina, and helped one family move out of their FEMA trailer and into their newly restored home. This experience had a great impact on the team members that participated in this project.
All of those team members that visited different families all along the coast made a personal connection to a family affected by Hurricane Katrina. They now had faces to go with Katrina and stories of perseverance, determination, and gratefulness that they did not see on the news. Each night at dinner, a team leader from each project would share with the rest of the team about their work for the day, who they met, and their observations. Many laughs were shared but there were also many moments of reflection and silence as team members thought about the road ahead for these communities.
North Carolina A&T State University brought many unique skills and perspectives to Pass Christian, MS. The team was able to visit numerous families, complete several work projects that moved 5 families closer to moving into their homes, and encouraged an entire community by taking the time to clean a street in a low-income neighborhood. They did a wonderful job!
To the team: Thank you for your hard work, your willingness to get dirty, and the many smiles and memories you left here along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Come back soon!