Volunteers from Operation Southern Comfort build a house in St. Bernard Parish, La. The Liverpool-based organization has made 35 trips to the Gulf Coast to help rebuild areas ravaged by Hurricane Katrina; founder Norm Andrzejewski is now organizing trip number 36.
continued That doesn’t mean OSC is turning away from the Gulf Coast. Several more trips have already been planned; the next one, OSC 36, will take place from Oct. 8 to 16. For later trip dates, see operationsoutherncomfort.org.
“We have family ties,” Andrzejewski said. “When you go down there so many times, as many times as we have, when people cook for you, you start to really get in with them. You really care about them.”
This was especially true of the people whose homes OSC built from the ground up.
“A year or so after Katrina, another [hurricane] was coming, Ike or Gustav,” Andrzejewski said. “We’d built two houses at this point, Maria’s and Marilyn’s. We called a meeting [of the OSC steering committee] and wondered what we should do. When it strikes, will our houses survive? And as we discussed this, word family came up – what do you do when your family is caught in this situation?”
Once they found out that both homeowners had evacuated and were okay, Andrzejewski said the answer was simple.
“If the house breaks, we fix it,” he said. “That’s a commitment we’ve made. That’s why we keep going down there.”
Anyone interested in helping Operation Southern Comfort in its efforts can call Norm Andrzejewski at 559-9413 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit operationsoutherncomfort.org.