Dessert First - A Note from Paula Buhr....
Well, it has been an exciting ride since Miss Katrina hit. The Clinic has come a long way from our first hole in the wall (literally) at the fire station. We had 1-1/2 walls and the rest studs. The walls we did create were out of water and baby formula. The selves were palettes the National Guard from N.C. made with their little army hacksaw. There were dirty tires and mud all over. The ground was still messy and stinky. I still remember their faces and need for food and water. They were opening cans with anything they could find. The town stunk like dead stuff and swamp mud. The story is a long one and the last six months has been colored with so many truly selfless giving people....the entire country responded and the helicopter pilots from Florida should be thanked for alerting everyone that flew with them about the "desperate people in this little town by the river." They were the Privateers from Fla. They told me it was worse than Iraq and said I needed to go. Well, I did, and never expected God to fill my life with a new adventure in management - Katrina style.
My mission for the Clinic was to leave it to the locals and so now, after several weeks of talking to Coastal Family Practice we, ( Gene, Linda, and myself) feel it is time to leave. Coastal is staffed enough to send a Doctor two days a week. Coastal lost two clinics during the hurricane and they are still trying to recover. This past week the baton was passed to them and they have sent a Nurse Practitioner and a Doctor to take care of the patients. Gene and Linda have gone to Linda's sister's place in Va. The sister has been diagnosed with an Astrocytoma brain tumor and is not doing very well. Gene and Linda have truly spent thousands of dollars of their own money to support the Clinic and have loved the people of Pearlington through all of this. Please pray for her sister. They want to return to live there in the summer. As we come and go in and out of Pearlington, remember to smile and hug the people with gladness and joy. The days are joyful in the recovery phase and we all have to help them make it. The sunshine and hope is returning to their lives.
We took extras from the clinic to start the FIRST EVER Mississippi Medical Reserve Response Team. It has 50 members now and we are ready for next year. Mississippi is broke, so pray for donations by next hurricane season.
As first on the ground, I would like to thank Hootie, Dee, FEMA Royce and MEMA Mike and Rocky Pullman. We have been down a lot of bumpy roads during this thing and these guys were there when she hit and are still helping at the EOC. They need free vacations in Hawaii when this is over because they have not CRACKED or LOST IT. They have given us the life-saving help we needed in Pearlington and when it hit the fan with wacky personalities, they stood by us and said, "If you did not hear it from us; it is not true." So call the Governors office every chance you get and tell them about these selfless men and women!
Life is short as we all know....it is uncertain....so go for the gusto. Throw your head back and howl at the moon. Eat dessert first, and by all means, give of your time to those who have less than you do.
God Bless America and thank all you church groups and volunteers for saving my home state!
I love you all,