Southern Comfort heads south
Group spends vacation helping with hurricane devastation of 2005
By Willie Kiernan
A group of locals will be heading south for spring break, but not for a typical vacation but to help with the continued overwhelming job of clean up of the Katrina/Rita Hurricane devastation in areas of Louisiana and Mississippi.
"We're leaving early morning Saturday April 12," said volunteer Tom Davies.
With six to a van, the group will spend the night on a church floor in Bristol, VA and complete the trip to Chalmette, LA on Sunday. Once there, they will be given chores and full, eight-hour work days.
"We could be doing anything from mucking, to tear down, to sheet rocking, roofing, electrical " Davies said.
The group is a part of Southern Comfort, a project sponsored by St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Liverpool, with financial support from other charities. The group is headed by executive director Norm Andrzejewski.
"I think the work they'll be doing is fantastic," Andrzejewski said. "Those people will be most appreciative for the ability to get back into their homes as a result of what this group will accomplish."
Southern Comfort is working through churches or various denominations and other community agencies to identify families in need of assistance and to support their efforts in these storm ravaged areas.
"This will be the 14th such trip," Davies said. "We fund ourselves; $250 pays for the van rental, gas and food down there. The previous trip I went on was to Gulfport, MS in February of last year."
The work could involve clean-up of flood-damaged homes or reconstruction. In many areas affected by levee breaks, the flood water was eight to 10 feet deep. Many, but not all, homes in these areas have been "mucked out" of all furniture, appliances, fixtures, mud, drywall, insulation and flooring; stripped down to the studding; and disinfected. These homes may be ready for sheet rock, painting, etc.