Local Volunteers Return From the Gulf

By: Sarah Batista
By: Sarah Batista

September12, 2005

Last week we introduced you to a bus-load of volunteers heading down to Mississippi. They hoped to bring back families affected by hurricane Katrina. Now they're back.

After spending nearly a week in Hurricane-ravaged southern Mississippi, David New and Oliver Kuttner are back looking at pictures of the damage. While they had an idea of what to expect in the Gulf--nothing prepared them for what they saw.

"It just obliterated everything down to slabs, the trees were full of confetti of sinks and televisions and pianos," said New.

"There was one road where they cut a house in half because the house was moved right dead center in the street," said Kuttner.

And the stories they heard backed what they saw.

"I know one guy was outside smoking a cigarette and it was dry with a little water in ditches and one minute later they were swimming from one roof to another because their roof was about to be too short to be standing on," explained Kuttner.

Using their own company's Starlight Express bus, the pair hauled 18 volunteers to the Gulf. They distributed food and medical supplies to several hard-hit communities and even offered to relocate families to Charlottesville.

"We did bring one family with three small children, but they had family in Chesapeake, so we brought them back here and then provided transportation to Chesapeake [for them] last night," said New.

Other families wanted to leave yet stayed behind hoping to find family or apply for relief assistance. The men plan to return soon and bring some of those families back.

The men are currently helping to relocate eight families from Mississippi.
If you're interested in sponsoring a family, call 434-979-8413. They need food, clothing, shelter, and any type of household necessities. The names of any interested sponsors will be placed on a
list until the families arrive.

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