A Helping Hand from Someone who Almost Lost it All: TNCC Adjunct Faculty Helped Victims of Hurricane Katrina

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THE VIRGINIA PENINSULA – In September, as Thomas Nelson Community College adjunct faculty Doris Bryant watched the news about the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf Coast Area, she felt the urge to actively help those who had lost all their belongings and in many cases their family members to this natural disaster.

Bryant became a volunteer for the Red Cross and after attending an orientation and training session, was sent to Baton Rouge, Louisiana to be part of the relief efforts. From October 6 through October 20, she was part of a team of volunteers driving trucks and delivering hot meals to shelters in Baton Rouge. She lived in the River View shelter along with hundreds of victims of Hurricane Katrina. Her living conditions were the same as all other refugees. She slept on a cot and shared the shelter’s facilities with hundreds of victims. Her day usually started at 4:30 a.m. in a line in front of the restrooms. At 6:30 a.m., she was ready to start her official 12-hour day shift loading and unloading hot meals around the town. At 6:30 p.m., exhausted, Doris ended her day. The people she had met during the day would give her the motivation to continue her volunteer work the following day. In her rounds, Bryant met many people whose positive attitude in spite of their grim reality taught her a valuable lesson in life. “I was amazed at the positive attitude of people,” Bryant said. “They were determined to make it through the rough times and recover from the devastation they were suffering after Katrina. Many of the people had lost absolutely everything.”