Mississippi College

MC Responds to 2nd Katrina Anniversary

August 29, 2007

Mississippians touched by Hurricane Katrina are calling Mississippi College's campus radio station to reflect on today's second anniversary of the deadly storm. Many are praising the efforts of armies of volunteers who helped speed the recovery on the Gulf Coast and New Orleans.

The outpouring of dozens of Katrina phone calls reflects how "churches in the area got the opportunity to put their faith in action," said Traci Maughon, the Star 93.5 station manager. "People are sharing their positive stories. It's been good."

Calls came from one area listener on a church mission trip in New York City. She felt uplifted by Mississippi's rapid response to America's worst natural disaster and the assistance from neighbors nationwide. One MC student mom called in to share her memories. Others talked about their post-Katrina relocation to Central Mississippi or simply to say thanks to countless post-Katrina heroes.

Maughon remembered she nearly "sweated to death" working with volunteers at the kitchen at First Baptist Church in Richland that lost its air conditioning due to the storm. As Katrina evacuees stopped by for lunch, volunteers served up everything from ribs to soup as church members emptied their freezers.

MC's campus in Clinton didn't escape Katrina's fury. A big oak tree on the Quad fell down and crushed a car. "Power lines were draped over most of the buildings on campus," Maughon said. An MC student, Maughon and communication department chairman Cliff Fortenberry were the last to leave the station, also known as WHJT, when the storm pounded Mississippi and Louisiana.

This Labor Day weekend, there's still much post-Katrina work to do in both states. Fund-raisers like a $20 per person event Saturday dubbed "Let's Eat Shrimp" will take place at a Jackson church in the Fondren area. It's one of several events around the state to support South Mississippi's recovery.

Two years ago, First Baptist Church in Clinton sent teams to a church they "adopted" - East Lawn Baptist Church in Pascagoula that was hit by eight-foot high floodwaters and received extensive damage. Church members from Clinton were on the Coast to rebuild churches, paint homes and minister to families, said Ramey Hankins, FBC senior adult minister. "Churches all over the United States went to help."

Members of MC's Baptist Student Union made several trips to the Coast, and partnered with area churches to assist with rebuilding over the past two years.

There's still much unfinished business even though Mississippi has received more than $23.5 billion in government recovery money, mostly from the federal sector.

Still, the focus today on MC's radio station has been upbeat - on what's been accomplished, not what the government did or didn't do. Said Maughon: "It's really cool to hear the stories. It's been a good show."

People with more Katrina anniversary thoughts should call the MC radio station, STAR 93.5 FM, at 601-925-3460 or email to star93fm.com

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