The Story re: Katrina
Like many others, I watched with some interest as Hurricane Katrina gathered steam. I had learned from living in Key West during Hurricane Andrew that it’s always a good idea to pay attention to where the hurricane may turn; especially important given I lived in Northern Florida.
I watched in horror as the levees broke, flooding the lower parts of New Orleans, especially the 9th Ward.
I wasn’t comfortable with feeling powerless; so I decided to help in the way I best know and can best contribute … get on the phone, reach out to large corporations, and rustle up some donations.
Now, mind you, I had not done this before, in this way. I just followed what was a very strong inner guidance. More amusing to me is that right before Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, I had made a decision to spend the next year on my health, as it was starting to slip a bit. That didn’t last long. As so many others who wanted to do what they could, I found myself donating 1 1/2 years of my time to help out.
Four things happened which catapulted me right into the middle of everywhere and everything. Until I was reviewing records for writing this, I had totally forgotten just how much I was involved and how many different groups and individuals I interacted with.
Very early on, I connected with a few other individuals and we agreed to coordinate and collaborate with each other. At 3 am on the Thursday after Katrina hit, I decided to come up with a name, an “umbrella”; something to identify ourselves with. While long, the best I could come up with was “Animal Relief Resource”. My intention was always to find a much shorter name. ~ chuckles ~ That happened after about 10 years; and it was only then that I let go of the original domain.
On to the 4 things which catapulted me right into the middle of the animal response for Hurricanes Katrina and Rita:
- I noticed from the news that initially communication was a problem. So, I contacted Iridium satellite phone company, who gave me access to the last 15 sat phones they physically had to distribute amongst animal welfare groups;
- I heard in the news that Best Friends Animal Society had to rescue animals from a Petco store. I found that appalling, so I contacted Petco’s PR Department about the situation;
- Out of the blue, with no explanation, from a contact I had made at American Humane (from when I offered them cell phones for use) I received a list of the status of the animal shelters in the Mississippi and Louisiana affected by Hurricane Katrina and the corresponding flood … some had no status and the one for HSSM (Humane Society of South Mississippi) made absolutely NO SENSE … I started calling all of the facilities on the list.