A Glimpse Into Life Inside Reese Center For Hurricane Katrina Survivors - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

9/8/05

A Glimpse Into Life Inside Reese Center For Hurricane Katrina Survivors

The number of Hurricane Katrina victims at Lubbock's Reese Center is now down to 302. On Sunday, September 3rd, it was 400. Many people have left to reunite with family members, but the majority are adjusting to life inside Reese Center in Lubbock. While they were being evacuated, they didn't know where their evacuation flights would take them. Many of the survivors at Reese haven't had a chance to get jobs yet, and much of their time is spent thinking about what's next.

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302 Hurricane Katrina survivors have been living inside a hangar for days. No doubt, they've made adjustments to their accommodations. For instance the bathrooms are portable, as are the showers. They rely on citibus for transportation, and instead of going to work, Desmond Bemiss played basketball to pass his time. However, nothing amounts to the emotional adjustments his family has made.

Bemiss said, "It was soothing that we came here to Lubbock. I've never met a buch of friendlier people."

When the family, 22 strong, boarded their evacuation flight from New Orleans, they literally did not know they would land in Lubbock. Now they've decided to stay, but Monday, one day after the plane landed, they weren't so sure.

In an NewsChannel 11 interview on Monday Bemiss said, "We'll keep on a happy face. We don't have a house, nothing, I've gotta be strong for them. It's devastating."

Bemiss' cousin, Charles Thomas is one of the 22 family members. He calls himself a man of God. "I thank God I'm a reverend," said Thomas. He has other ways of passing his time. "I listen to my gospel music. I talk a lot!" He also spends time telling survivors the disaster is all part of a greater purpose. Thomas said, "When I see them sitting with they're head down, I go talk to them and let them know God's in charge."

Bemiss says, "I talked to him, you know, just to keep my level head. No matter how strong you are, you always got that silver bullet that'll knock you down and this is it."

While Thomas has helped keep Bemiss' spirits alive, they both agree that through the people of Lubbock and their hospitality has helped make all the difference. "It's a home away from home and in a lot of cases it's better than the home we just came from before the hurricane!," said Bemiss.

Bemiss said he and his wife have already looked for apartments and their kids are already going to school in Lubbock. They'll hopefully find a job at the job fair being held Friday, September 9th, exclusively for the survivors.

How You Can Help Hurricane Katrina Victims
American Red Cross - Salvation Army - NSALA: Katrina Animal Rescue
Here is a collection of the different ways you can donate to the victims of Katrina.

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