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Shelter volunteers come through and make our community proud

When Hurricane Ivan threatened the Mississippi, Louisiana,Alabama and Florida coastlines last week, southwest Mississippiresidents and organizations jumped into action, opening their doorsand their hearts to hundreds of the thousands of coastal familiesdisplaced by the storm.

Several area churches and Copiah-Lincoln Community Collegeopened their doors, allowing hundreds to sleep in their gymnasiumsand use their facilities as a home away from home until the dangerfarther south had passed.

Going above and beyond the call, church members and othercommunity volunteers fed evacuees, entertained their children,tried to calm their fears, ferried their pets to shelters of theirown and – in some cases – even did their laundry.

The Red Cross, which coordinated the effort, was overwhelmed bythe response. It, in fact, had more offers of volunteer help thanit could use.

In all, more than 100 local residents played a part in manningthe various shelters. Each of them deserves our sincere gratitudeand respect.

Residents of our community have always been a thoughtful,selfless and generous bunch, and this time was no exception.

Our local volunteers helped those who fled Hurricane Ivan makethe best of a bad situation. For that, the evacuees will certainlyforever be grateful.

What’s more, the volunteers – playing the role of goodwillambassadors – have ensured southwest Mississippi’s reputation willbe known in other areas, as the returning evacuees relay to friendsand relatives their positive experiences here.

And for that, our community is grateful as well.