Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Interview with David Driscoll--Hurricane relief worker

In an attempt to get more people to the gulf coast region, I will be doing a series of interviews with people who have been there as volunteers. I can think of no one better than David Driscoll.

Dave has already been there for 6 weeks and is going back for more! The interview is in MP3 format, so it can be listened to using Real, Quicktime, Windows Media, etc.

Dave was the first "Handson" person we met in Biloxi as he met us at the airport. He really has done it all from working at the Humane Society, to gutting houses, to going to New Orleans, to giving out supplies.

The interview is about 16 minutes long.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Buffalo News - Learning lessons from devastation

Nice article on Alrfed State. They worked with Handson over THanksgiving break! Way to go!!

Buffalo News - Learning lessons from devastation: "About 30 people from Alfred State College - including students, staff and the college president - spent Thanksgiving week in Mississippi, clearing fallen trees, removing debris, delivering supplies and helping victims of Hurricane Katrina.

In return, the volunteers got a profound lesson in the strength of the human spirit, the joy of giving and the richness of their own lives."

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Pizza in NYC

The following is an essay I wrote about a month ago. I actually have quite a few essays to enter as most are on my yellow legal pads--while inefficient, it is too difficult to use my notebook computer on planes, and in airports and restaurants. So yellow legal pads and then typing it is. Unfortunately this takes time, so bear with me.

October 28, 2005 5:10 PM Carusso's Pizza--New York City

It was the furthest thing from my thoughts. I was in NYC with the St. Bonaventure Finance Club. In the previous thirty four hours we had seen two exchanges, toured the Fed, been given presentations at two large investment bankers, and met with Alumni. Oh and that was not enough, we also went sight-seeing, bargained with street vendors in Battery Park, and had two decent runs along the East River. There were five hours before our flight back home.

I was alone. Some of the students were visiting family and friends, while others had chosen to eat. I had decided to walk. But after about 30 minutes of battling the unseasonably cold weather, I stepped into one of the seemingly nameless pizza parlors in the Financial District. This one was names Carusso's.

I really am not that hungry, but I did want to eat before the flight, so now is as good a time as any. "Two slices of cheese pizza--Sicilian please."

I take a seat along the mirrored side of the dining area so that I can watch the thousands of workers hustle by on the crowded sidewalk. It is Friday night. night to celebrate.

The pizza is good. It is a tad hot however and I have water in my backpack. I reach for the water and am confronted by my yellow legal pad sticking out between a journal article I was supposed to read and a book I had just purchased. The legal pad has notes and incomplete essays written on our recent trip to Mississippi to help with hurricane clean-up. Suddenly I am no longer in the pizza parlor. Not even in NYC. I am suddenly taken back to Mississippi.

It has been about ten weeks since Katrina. Ten weeks and the world has largely forgotten about the region. Forgotten about the victims. Forgotten about the whole thing. But it is not over. I had seen it first hand only weeks ago. It is not over by a long shot. Millions are still suffering as I sit killing time eating pizza and watching the world go by.

Not sure what else to do, I take out my legal pad and begin writing:

"While hurricane relief has been pushed of of TV and is no longer front-page news, hundreds of thousands of people are still facing enormous hurdles. Hurdles that are tough enough for the average healthy person to overcome, but nearly impossible for the poor, disabled, or elderly to surmount without help.

Many of these people have no family to help nor money to hire help. So what can they do? The live in the moldy, unsafe homes. Or move out of the area. Or maybe if they are lucky into a FEMA trailer along side their home."

With that I stopped writing and put the legal pad away. I was disgusted with myself. I had just called living in a trailer, next to a destroyed home a victory. It is not victory. It may be a start, but there is still a long ways to go before victory can be declared. And almost no one knows.

The pizza finished and my mood ruined, I walked out onto the still crowded streets. It was everything I could do to not walk up to perfect strangers and ask them if they wanted to come with us when we go back to Mississippi. Maybe I should have.

Not wanting to make that same mistake twice, I will ask you:
"Want to come with us?" For information on our March Trip, email me or check out this page .

Thursday, November 24, 2005

City of Biloxi is publishing a book and DVD to raise money

"The City of Biloxi is producing a DVD and companion photo album to commemorate the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and the community’s inspirational recovery efforts. The hour-long DVD and photo album of hundreds of images will be available in January, but those seeking to purchase the collectibles as Christmas gifts will be provided a gift card to present at Christmas time."

Click here for more information and to place an order.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005 - La. toll rises as evacuees find dead in return to homes - La. toll rises as evacuees find dead in return to homes: "More than a month after the official search for victims of Hurricane Katrina ended, the death toll in Louisiana has jumped by 104 as returning families in the New Orleans area continue to find bodies"