In just over a week's time...we will be walking the beaches of the Gulf of Mexico. We will also be re-visiting some places along the Mississippi coast where hubby spent a few months time more than four decades ago. I'm sure it will not look anything like what he remembers.
In August of 1969 one of the most violent and destructive hurricanes to ever hit North America devastated the Mississippi gulf coast. Meet Hurricane Camille! The Mississippi gulf coast was declared a major disaster area...and many organizations immediately rushed in to help with the relief effort. A plea went out in our area for anyone who might be willing to join a team of volunteers through Mennonite Disaster Service. Hubby signed on! He quit his job...and traveled south with a group of guys he had never met before to go and lend a helping hand to those whose lives had been turned upside down by the hurricane.
This is how things looked in Gulfport, Mississippi when he arrived there. There was not much shopping happening in this shopping centre anymore!
Several large ocean liners were firmly grounded far from the water where they once rode the waves. There was no way to return these ships 'whence they came'...and so they were to be demolished!
The Wade Klein...a large shrimp boat was stolen the night before Hurricane Camille. The thieves never really got away. Their punishment was to ride out the hurricane and find themselves high and dry...jammed between a battered oak tree and a damaged beachfront home in Biloxi, MS.
Hubby spent long days on a construction crew while on volunteer duty. The work was organized by the Red Cross...and mostly involved repairing the homes of the working poor in the area.
This lady was extremely grateful for those who came to help. The team spent a week returning her home to it's original location and repairing the roof. Home sweet home!
As for the fancy digs where the volunteers stayed while they were working...
...they were provided by the Red Cross. A large school was converted into dormitories for the workers...with meals served in the school cafeteria. Every day began at 5:30AM...in order to get to the job site by 7AM. It was definitely not an assignment 'just for the fun of it!' It was all about being the 'hands and feet' of Jesus to those who faced disaster.
In 1969 John Bell Williams, who was the governor of Mississippi said... 'The Coast is going to be rebuilt. It is going to be one of the finest recreation areas in this country'. Elmer has always wanted to go back...and see it as it is today. Soon we will be on our way!
Planning is half the fun, I know. And at this point...we welcome your input. If you have any suggestions of interesting places to visit en route...or fabulous places to eat...let's hear about them. As for lodging...school dormitories are not an option!
Have a wonderful weekend!
Oh that poor area just keeps getting slammed. It will be intriguing to read what Elmer thinks of it all now. Have a wonderful journey and a good time visiting family...I think you have family that way. I will hold onto your magnet for a while. ;DReplyDelete
Judy, What a fascinating post. I know you have taked about Elmer being there at one time but seeing these photos make the story come alive.ReplyDelete
I love your road trips! Can't wait to see where the road less traveled (or maybe this one is more traveled) will take you this time.
I love, love, love this post. I love the Gulf Coast. We always stay in a condo in Orange Beach, Alabama. Hope you packed your Twizzlers. We always do when we travel. Have fun!!!ReplyDelete
Wow, the pictures from the aftermath of Camille were awesome, meaning they left me full of awe at the destructive power of the storm. Have a great trip, I'm sure you will visit many interesting locations along the way. Can't wait to see your photos.ReplyDelete
A trip down memory lane for your husband and a new adventure for you - what a good time you're sure to have! It's been many years since we made that trip, but I remember the hospitality of people in those Gulf States. Bon Voyage!ReplyDelete
Oh how great it is to know the story behind the story of this trip you are taking. The photos really are amazing. God bless Elmer for this sacrifice he made to serve others! Have fun!ReplyDelete
What a great post! It's so interesting to see those old photos. That area has seen so much devastation.ReplyDelete
If you're in Florida, I'd recommend zipping across the state to visit St. Augustine, the oldest continuously occupied city in North America. It has an interesting fort, and a fun city centre to explore.
What a great trip you're going to have.
Too cool! I had no idea he had done a stint like that with MDS. Going back will be pretty special. Can hardly wait to see and hear all about it!ReplyDelete
You are a great planner....loved seeing the photos. We will be sure to follow you along the highways and byways. Sounds fabulous!ReplyDelete
This was so interesting to read and the pictures Elmer took tell the story so well. You will have a wonderful time exploring this region I'm sure. And I know you will take us along with you with your travel posts. I'm looking forward to reading them.ReplyDelete
That must have been some trip back in '69 and I am sure it will be again this time...although much more peaceful and reflective I suspect. I pray you will have a truly blessed timeReplyDelete
Boy does that bring back memories. If you can go online and read last months issue of Southern Living you will find a great article of where to stay and eat in the Keys. So great that Bernie and I were talking about a getaway down there in a few weeks. Sadly his mom has just been told she has pancreatic cancer. All travel plans will involve San Diego for awhile instead.ReplyDelete
Those photos are amazing. Kudos' to your husband for what he did! I hope you have a great time walking those beautiful beaches!ReplyDelete
This sounds like an ambitious road trip, Judy! I'm sure you will see many interesting things along the way. God bless Elmer for all he did to help those in need.ReplyDelete
I have the highest admiration for people who give up their own lives, for however long, and go and help those caught in such devastation. What impressive pictures! As for the trip, I do not have recommendations, but I am thankful you are going with your camera, and for your wonderful blog. You document your trips in a memorable way. Enjoy!ReplyDelete
Have fun. Nice clicks with a story behind.ReplyDelete
That was so amazing to see those photos of your husbands endeavors to lend a helping hand.ReplyDelete
You guys are quite the road trippers!
Can't wait to see your new photos of the gulf.
hallo judy i came across your post while i am on a journey of my own and one of your photos is where our paths cross, it started when an American family by the name of Hill moved in close to me ( i live in Ireland ) the husband was called to the middle east for work where he got badly hurt the rest of his family moved to USA to take care of him while leaving behind a large number of family photos some of which are of this disaster so mike hill was there the same time as your husband i am still looking to return the family photos and with gods help some day i will but yours is one of the interesting stories i come across along the way thank youReplyDelete
Thank you for this. I have been looking for documented reports of this work for many years, as I was also there and I believe I am in the picture taken in the school house. I would love to connect and hear your story and see if you have any more documentation or pictures.ReplyDelete
My husband thinks he recalls your name. He would also be interested in connecting with you. You can reach us via my email address on this blog.ReplyDelete