Friday, September 08, 2006

Story of a Volunteer Who Moved to Waveland

Illinois Woman Dedicates Her Life to Helping Katrina Victims

Aug 29, 2006 07:02 PM CDT

Hurricane Katrina destroyed homes and tore apart live. One year later, the road to recover is still a long one.More than 35 thousand volunteers from a round the nation came to the coast's aid after the storm. In Waveland , Mississippi you'll find a volunteer from Illinois who has dedicated her life to helping Katrina victims.After seeing pictures of what the deadly hurricane did to Mississippi Johnson was convinced she had to go to the coast.
"I saw there was a compelling need to assist," said Johnson.
She loaded up her truck with supplies and headed to Mississippi .
"I was overwhelmed. People didn't know what to do," said Johnson.
She only planned to stay for two weeks, but that planed changed quickly. She went back home to Illinois packed up her possessions and moved to Waveland , Mississippi .
"I am a carpenter by trade. I have something that is gravely needed here. That is a skill," said Johnson.
She now works free of charge as a volunteer coordinator. She helped complete strangers rebuild their homes. Folks like Earl Booth.
"She's in the field breaking her back helping us renew our lives," said Booth.
She helped the Booth's rebuild their home piece by piece. "I thought about tearing it down. She said we can make something cute. I laughed but she was right," said Booth.
Johnson said through her work, she wants to help people.
"I found this quote in New Orleans . It said 'sorry looks back, worry looks around, and faith looks forward.' This house was built on faith," said Johnson.
Johnson estimates she's helped 500 people get back in their homes. She says that's only a small number of the people who need help.
She expects to remain in Waveland, at least for another two years.

Reporter: Sally Pitts

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