Today was truly an amazing day of giving and receiving!
Today began our journey with the people of Hands On and the residents of New Orleans! The day started with a one hour journey to the areas affected by major flooding. We were greeted and briefed by the kind people of the local Morman Church in Hammond. At first glace, it was clear that help was desperately needed as over 60,000+ homes were affected which equates to 110,000 people displaced.
Hammond is a small community off the beaten path and not given the attention of the larger communities affected by the flood that devastated the community.
We had the chance to meet Tony, a spry older man with a sense of humor despite the devastation he was facing. A recent widower of four months, Tony not only was face the overwhelming sorrow of loosing not only his wife Deborah, but now was faced with the insurmountable task of putting his home back together alone.
Our team quickly bonded with Tony, the sweet man with a wickedly sharp joking lounge. He welcomed us in to his home with a sense of pride and humility.
We could go on about the work we did in Tony’s home, but what we left with was the lesson of love and deep bond humans have for one another.
Tony’s struggled to let go of the damaged memories of his wife as we took items away to be disposed of, the hardest of which was his Deborah’s cookbook, filled with the recipes of meals of the past. Covered in mold, the storm took away Tony’s memory.
At the end of everyday on the swing from his porch Tony writes to Deborah to tell her of his days events. Tonight he will share his memories of the crazy team that shared a few hours with him, working, chatting and laughing despite the tragedy he faced.
We will always remember you Tony, thanks for letting us be a part of your world.
Greg Cosper, Daniel Gilliece, Tony Gareri