The first email (only slightly edited)
I came across your page detailing your relief work on the coast and I wanted to say thanks.
I went on 2 such trips in the weeks directly following Katrina's landfall. We were working from Gulfport to Bay St. Louis. The destruction was haunting but more haunting were the people we encountered. Days before, many of them "had it all." Then they woke up and had nothing.
Almost all of them just needed to talk with someone who could at least act like they cared if they lived or died.
I was prepared for hard work and physical discomfort. I wasn't prepared for the "spiritual" heavy lifting which was perhaps the most important thing any of us could do there at that time. In many places along the coast that is still probably the most important thing that needs doing.
Simple acts of human kindness.
I try to impress that on people who have expressed an interest in helping but don't think they can climb on a roof or carry moldy sheet rock. I point out that these houses have owners and that sitting down with them and listening to them talk or vent or cry could easily be the most important thing anyone on that team could do.
Your pictures bring it back. I see them and I can still smell the mold. I can still smell the horror of a "dead" refrigerator. I can still feel the anguish of those we tried to help. I can still see them crying.
My thoughts go with all of you who are still helping and will be needed to help for years to come.