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Letter to the Editor

By Staff
Katrina: One year later
By Leisle Ewing Mims
A year ago, the Gulf Coast was preparing for the arrival of a monstrous hurricane – Katrina. What we witnessed and experienced in the following days was devastating. As we commemorate the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, it is unpleasant to recall the flooding, destruction, and lives lost. Yet the response of the American people and people around the world fills me with pride. I am profoundly grateful to our neighbors who gave their time, talent and financial resources to help the people of the Gulf Coast.
I would like to take this opportunity formally to say "Thank you" to each person in this community who contributed to the recovery effort.
To our volunteers and employees at the Alabama Gulf Coast Chapter – thank you for your time, talents, patience and perseverance.
To our donors – thank you for your contributions. Your concern for others ensured disaster relief would quickly get to those in need
To the hurricane survivors, – thank you for your strength and for all those times when your smile and the laughter of your children brightened everyone's day. You, too, were caregivers.
To our families, friends and neighbors – thank you for the phone calls, fundraisers, prayers and for your countless acts of kindness.
Thanks to all of you, the Alabama Gulf Coast Chapter was the first chapter up and running along the Gulf Coast to provide client assistance to our chapter residents and our neighbors from Mississippi and Louisiana. With your help we provided over 86,151 families with more than $96 million in assistance.
The Alabama Gulf Coast chapter mobilized hundreds of volunteers who served over 500,000 meals and snacks and helped to provide shelter to over 1,200 disaster victims. More than 5,000 comfort kits were distributed to families and over 13,000 mental health consultations were conducted just from our local Red Cross.
When Katrina swept into our lives in 2005, it became a hurricane we would never forget. Katrina alone impacted an area larger than North and South Carolina combined. Now, one year later, it is clear that the initial response phase has given way to the recovery phase. The need is still great and there is much more work to be done.
The Red Cross is still hard at work with our government and charitable partners on the Gulf Coast to form partnerships to be prepared to respond to future disasters and continue to help those in the recovery process through our Hurricane Recovery Program.
During this one year remembrance of the worst hurricane season on record, the Alabama Gulf Coast Chapter again thanks you, the people of Mobile, Baldwin, Clarke, Monroe and West Escambia Counties, for your support. We could not have done it without you. And, we ask for your support as we prepare for whatever emergency may face us in the future.
Leisle Ewing Mims
Executive Director
American Red Cross
Alabama Gulf Coast Chapter