What Gulf Coast Congressman Gene Taylor wanted the Easter Bunny to bring him.
South Mississippi Living 4/07

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Volunteers still making an impact on the Gulf Coast -- --

September 12, 2007

While New Orleans received most of the attention following Hurricane Katrina, small communities like Pearlington, Mississippi were also devastated by the storm. Two years later, relief agencies, including some with close ties to western Virginia, are still working quietly to help those communities recover.

When we last visited the Gulf Coast in November of 2005, volunteers from congregations at Smith Mountain Lake were helping to renovate the First Southern Baptist Church in Pearlington. Although that work is complete, volunteers are still making an impact. They are rebuilding homes and helping residents rebuild their lives.

A local contractor actually moved his family to Hancock County. Two years ago, Gene Butterfield was building homes at Smith Mountain Lake. Today, he is working a different waterfront with his group, Walls of Hope.

"It's still overwhelming to me. With the amount of loss that was here, and the amount of need that is still required to put, to get them back in their homes," says Butterfield.

After two years in a FEMA trailer, Ettie Lee is getting back into a home. The new home was built, financed, and furnished by members of western Virginia churches. "I appreciate everybody who had something to do with it," says Lee.

Walls of Hope and its volunteers have built 60 homes. By using wall panels trucked in from Iowa, and as much volunteer labor as possible, Walls of Hope can build a new home in a week.

Butterfield says Radford Baptist, Hales Ford Baptist, West Salem Baptist and other churches in Virginia have been a lifeline.

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