9 March 2002 @ 0500
Update on Jerre
Kathleen and I picked Jerre up at his van on 8 March at about 8:20, we were not expected but was very happy to see us. We drove to FEMA to get Jerre enrolled. Fortunately we were directed to Mr. Fred Boykin a retired Army First Sergeant. Mr. Boykin connected with Jerre immediately, they had both served in Viet Nam. He asked Jerre if he was enrolled in the agent orange program, he was not. So, Mr. Boykin called the VA hospital and scheduled an appointment for a physical on 9 March at 9:30. The physical is the first step in getting enrolled into the program. He also talked with Jerre about the “Homeless Veterans” program. Jerre had not heard about this program and there is a possibility that he could move to Alabama to a VA facility. Jerre commented that he would be interested in the program. Next we went to get Jerre enrolled in FEMA. A process that Jerre said he had tried three or four times without success. It took no longer than 15-20 minutes to get his information into the system. There was however, one piece of paper that FEMA needs; proof that Jerre was living at the VA hospital in Gulfport when the hurricane hit. After departing FEMA we went to the VA hospital and actually found the correct office, the right individual and obtained the piece of paper.
While we were sitting in a waiting room at the VA hospital a man sat down, looked at Jerre and said he looked familiar. Not unusual in a military setting. The man asked Jerre if he was homeless; had lived elsewhere; had a couple of sisters; and tools (Jerre mentioned to us that he had left a lot of tools behind in Gulfport). He then said the police were showing his picture around and that he had been reported as missing by his family. Jerre wanted to go to the police station to find out if in fact his sisters were looking for him. We explained his story, his name was entered into the computer, the clerk then informed Jerre that there was an outstanding warrant against him. My visions of a family finding out a loved one was not dead, quickly vanished. A sergeant explained to Jerre that he would be processed and then meet with the judge. During his processing the sergeant came out to talk with me about Jerre. He was released with a court date of later this month.
Today I will go with another student to pick Jerre up and transport him to the VA hospital for his physical.
This is one story of one person who is a victim of hurricane Katrina. It is extremely sad.