Clyde's Corner on Volunteerism / Community Resilience / DRI2012, New Orleans, October 24-28

Tragedy, Triumph, and True Stories

Clyde's Corner_ TragedyTriumphandTrue Stories_April202012We’ve talked about the things to do in New Orleans, the excitement of the city, and vitality that exists throughout. But now, I want to talk about the vitality and strength of the people of this town.

I have been fortunate to meet and get to know many good people from New Orleans and have had the opportunity to get up close and personal with them.

A few weeks ago, I spoke of the woman who had been evacuated and found her family months after Katrina destroyed her home. That’s just one of so many stories of heroism and determination. Here are some stories of other folks that I have met as well as some of what they have endured and had the strength, the will, and the spiritual strength to survive.

Our friend Miss Linda at the Marriott lost her home and her prized photos of fellow Marriott employees. She rebuilt and is a beacon of hope and inspiration in her work, her community, and her church.

The doorman at a hotel near the convention center lost his home and just rebuilt, taking on extra jobs to ensure that he could furnish the new home.

Then there’s the woman who came by the Alvar Street Habitat for Humanity project that I worked on several years ago. She brought home-baked muffins and cakes for the worker to purchase at a very reasonable price. She also lost her home and all its contents to Katrina, but when asked how she was doing, she said “I’m fine. I have my friends, my family, and I am truly blessed.”

Or Miss Della…she lost her home and was confined to a wheelchair. When she got her insurance money and started to rebuild, she was cheated by contractors who took all of her insurance money and did not do the work. She also felt blessed to have volunteers helping her to rebuild. And although in a wheelchair and 82 years old, she said “If I’d known y’all were coming today, I’d have cooked for y’all.”

The stories are many … get knocked down, get back up … enjoy community, enjoy friends, enjoy family, enjoy the music and the food — and overall appreciate life and all the gifts we may have. Isn’t that an American story? Isn’t the strength of our character and the strength of our of our genuine commitment to each other and country. Isn’t that what makes us great. Looking forward to seeing you all real soon in New Orleans.

Have a great week y’all.

Clyde Berger

Disaster Recovery International Foundation
Director of Volunteerism and Vice President

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