Thanks to those who helped at shelter

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 3, 2006

To the Editor:

Hurricane Katrina made 2005 a trying time for so many people.

It was my privilege to manage the Red Cross Shelter at Westwood Baptist Church during the days immediately following the disaster.

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Let no one doubt the generosity of our citizens, nor the fact that hospitality was offered to one and to all!

Some evacuees stayed in the shelter, while more just came for meals, information, and conversation. Each and every evacuee I spoke with or had contact with was pleased with their reception at the shelter.

We attempted to meet the needs of all, and in most cases, were able to meet or exceed those needs, at least on a temporary basis.

Arrangement for showers; transportation when needed; car and truck tows and repairs; clothes washed; internet access; faxes and telephone use; pats on the back and hugs; shopping at the shelter “store”; pet care, doctor’s visits; prescriptions … the shelter and the shelter workers were able to provide those services because of caring citizens!

Although the following is in no particular order, I must start with the congregation of Westwood Baptist Church; Joyce Dawkins, secretary of Westwood Baptist Church, and the individual members of Westwood Baptist who stayed “on duty” in the shelter to assist in making things run smoothly.

Without these people, this shelter and its hospitality would not have been possible.

I shall attempt to name others, although I am sure someone will be unintentionally omitted, but here goes.

Thanks to the staff members of the Dallas County Health Department and the Department of Human Resources who worked at the shelter; John Solomon and the Grist YMCA; Carter Drugs; Pilcher-McBride Drug Co.; Pam Bjelke and Alice King, Selma Medical Associates; Capt. New of The Salvation Army; Robert Turner, Al’s Towing; Bo Morgan, D & R Tune-Up; Jim Jones, Meadows Tire; Charles Warren, Southland Chemical; a special church who wishes to remain anonymous; Katrina Shannon and her children; Chris and Amanda Ross; Angie and Church Yeargan, Yeargan Construction Co.; Judy McInnis; Pastor Bussey and members of Temple Gate Seventh Day Adventist Church; Karen Butts, Downtowner Restaurant; Cecil Gayle and Ken Parker; Jeanette and Buddy Hardin; Henry Brick Company; Domino’s Pizza; Randy Malone, Malone Construction; Kelly and Adam Green; Dr. James Carter, Superintendent, Selma City Schools; Billie Jo Haisten; Roberta Leach; Sherrie Lee Ousley; Concetta Burton, Edgewood Elementary School Principal; Rob Bond; Wayne Williams, Cahaba Center; Doreen Stephens, Glass House Restaurant; and all those many, many individuals who sent or dropped off personal care items, toys, etc. for our shelter “store”; made monetary donations to the Red Cross; or simply said prayers for those affected by Hurricane Katrina.

A huge thank you to Jakki, Sylvia, Martha and Ola at the Red Cross office because their continued support and up-beat attitudes kept me in line and made the job so much easier!

For those people and businesses I did not name, please accept my apologies – it certainly was not intentional.

To my daughters and son-in-law, thank you for your understanding and support during my days away from you and my office.

Thanks for never saying, “No, not now;” for taking care of my cat; for running errands; handing out keys; helping at the shelter and most especially for never asking why.

Statistics say Southerners contribute to non-profits in greater numbers and proportions than other areas of our country.

People in Selma and Dallas County must certainly be at the top of that list!

I believe we must each remember that in order to get, we must first give.

I received the gifts of love, new friendships and sharing from so many and I know for certain I received far more than I gave … just as we all do if we first just give.

Nancy Reynolds Bennett