Wednesday, June 28, 2006

I'm still here....really!

To paraphrase Mark Twain, the reports of my demise have been greatly exaggerated!

Life is about balance. If we are to be in this thing for the full distance, we have to occasionally step back and reconsider everything from a fresh perspective.

The "other" thing I do - you know, my LIFE - intervened and required me to put some attention on some business matters that I had been neglecting as I surfed the Pearlington wave. All is well and I am refreshed, invigorated and healthy. Thanks for all the notes inquiring as to my well-being. I appreciate it more than you know.

There is much transpiring in Pearlington. Some of it would be premature to share, but you have my promise that I will do everything I humbly can to help them become manifest. There is so much going on, that I have decided to wait until I arrive in Pearlington this Friday, June 30 to make my first From the Ground report.

This will enable me to see firsthand what the situation is and you can look forward to daily reports to this blog, as well as fresh stories for the Sharing Pearlington blog. Laurie is working on an updated Needs List and that will be posted as well.

Stay-tuned for the next cycle of the Pearlington Saga!

Kind regards,
"Canada Jon" White

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Holly's Library LIVES!

On my last morning in Pearlington this trip, I dropped in to see Holly Taylor and give her some more materials for friendship bracelets. I realized later that "Holly's library" still needed moving from its woeful spot to somewhere accessible, and that this was my last chance to do something about it. The forklift wasn't strong enough to move it, but the Dog Soldiers , who had built the library in November, were in town and I thought that the 7 of them plus me and a few other volunteers could push it across the school yard to a better site. So I called Tim Goodnow for help. He said he'd have to make a phone call and get back to me. When he called back, he'd said it would happen after lunch.

I rushed off to get Holly and tell her the news. She was really excited. The spot she'd wanted was now taken by a poling booth, so she picked a spot under a shade tree. The problem was that there was a garbage bin there, some pallets that had been roughly nailed together who knows how long ago, and never emptied. I told Holly and her friend Cassandra that they would have to prepare the site and get rid of the garbage. So we went into the Pearl-Mart and got 3 hammers. a shovel, a rake and garbage bags. The smell was gagging, but they got out what they could reach. Then we knocked the pallets apart and cleared away the rest of the mess - old blankets, sleeping bags, used diapers, cans and bottles and wrappers, all into the dumpster. Well done, girls!

At about 2:30p.m. , a man came into the office where I was working that day and asked if there was a lady who needed a shed moved. I leapt up and said "That's me!" He said he never saw anyone get so excited about moving a shed. "It's not an ordinary shed," I told him. It wasn't an ordinary move either. Ben Moss from Moss Towing in Bay St Louis had brought his son's tilting flatbed truck after a call from Tim Goodnow, and had done other helping out calls in the past for the Katrina clean-up. I got the girls again and we emptied the library of the books that Holly had already boxed and stacked them on the truck, Then Ben attached the wraps and winched the library onto the sloping flatbed.

Over at the new site, Holly had drawn on the ground where she wanted the library positioned, so it would face the school and people could see when it was open. Ben skilfully positioned it right on the mark! Then Ben, Holly, Cassandra, Alan from the Dog Soldiers and I unloaded the boxes of books from the truck. Within a few minutes, the avid readers were gathering, eager for the lending program to start again. What a great feeling! Thanks to everybody for keeping Holly's Library dream alive!

Eileen Powers
Midland, Ontario, Canada

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

News from Pearlington

June 1 brought the onset of the hurricane season. Please note two new .pdf files, located to the right of this panel. The first contains Hurricane Preparedness information, the second is a list of Severe Weather Shelters for the Pearlington area. Please read them both and be aware.

Combining databases created by a number of people, including Paula Buhr, Joe Clark and myself - aided by new surveys conducted by Americorps and others, with some assistance by Eileen Powers - we are finally in a position to know what needs to be done. There are some names missing - people who we were not able to contact or ever to catch at home - but, the effort will continue to make it as comprehensive as can be.

This database is a cooperative effort, in the full meaning of the word as defined by the Coalition of Disaster Relief Agencies (C.O.D.R.A.) in Pearlington. It is available to all and will identify who is the neediest of our help first (elderly, disabled, single Moms and pregnant women, large families etc.) so that we might focus our efforts appropriately. Amidst the chaos it has been a monstrous job and a task assisted by many brave and caring volunteers. All of you should now take a deep breath, hug one another and move on to our next big job.

This database will only stay current if all who do work in Pearlington report to it, so that it might be updated. Please see Laurie Spaschak and she will ensure that the work you have done is listed properly. It is also a crucial element in being able to provide the County with materials and volunteer hours worked, to help defray the downloading of Katrina costs by the State - eventually and inevitably to be borne by residents who have quite enough on their plates, thank you.


The Clinic, located in the corner of the Chas. B. Murphy school will be closing permanently this Thursday.

A Volunteer’s Tale:

There is an interesting story, published in the Press Banner, of the Ben Lomond area of California, by Pearlington volunteer Lynn Walton. Lynn returned home and continues to raise awareness and funds for the rebuilding of Pearlington. Thanks, Lynn!!

The story can be found here.

It takes a second to load. Click on Page 27 and then the conclusion is on page 31.

Quote du Jour:

"After 30 years of public safety service, Pearlington has moved me and rewarded me far beyond any experience of my life. There are so many others that you and I meet, engage and bond with every day. I can't tell you how important they all (and you) have become in my life as we march forward toward our the return of Pearlington. Some day we will come back, long after this effort has passed us. We will see the oaks and the pines, healthy again, the homes new and old restored and alive and we will know that we played our little part of breathing life where there was lifelessness. Thank you again."

- Tom Dalessandri, Carbondale, Co. - Project Pearlington

Have a great day!

Sunday, June 04, 2006

This Week in Pearlington

The kind gentleman from Quick Transportation, Houston (r)
who delivered all that sheet rock FREE for Larry Charbonneau (l)

Pearlington has quite an exciting week coming up. First, our garden week, called "Blooms in June" plans to be a time not to be missed, with community participants and visiting volunteers all working together to create a more beautiful Pearlington. We are happy to host 100 -150 National Guardsmen from the 172 Airlift Wing during this week. They plan to clean out ditches of debris around the town. Also, a Sports Camp, Fun Fair and Book-Mobile are all in the works, just in time to kick off the summer!

A calendar of events is as follows:

June 6th - 8th
9 am - Noon
Vacation Bible School and Sports Camp
at the First Southern Baptist Church

June 7th - 10th
Bookmobile will be parked in front of the library
of the Charles B. Murphy Elementary School

"Blooms in June" Events: June 5th - June 7th
Garden projects include:
Constructing and filling flower boxes
Planting flowers and trees around churches,
parks and Pearlington signage

Mulching flowerbeds
Work in community garden,
(located at the Pearlington Recovery Center )
Painting and distributing garbage cans
- and more -

June 8th
Various garden projects cont.
National Guardsmen arrive and complete
their debris removal work

June 9th
Noon - 3 pm
Pearlington Fun Fair
(with games, prizes, face painting, BBQ and crafts)

Finish garden projects
started throughout the week.

The Pearlington Recovery Center (PRC)
would love the help of community volunteers
for any of these gardening events.
For more information on Blooms in June,
please stop by the PRC.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

An Open Letter from Janet Dawson of Pearlington to all the Volunteers


I just wanted you to know how much we appreciate all of the work that the volunteers are doing in Pearlington. Though a few ignorant and greedy citizens may grumble, most appreciate and praise the efforts of all the work that is being done to rebuild our community.

I sat at my parents home yesterday and watched as Eileen [Powers, from Canada] took down a brick wall by herself, one brick at a time, and as she brought each brick to the curb of the road. She worked tirelessly and never complained. The homeowners weren't even at home to help her, yet there she stood, one brick at a time, removing their debris. Without individuals like Eileen, nothing would ever get accomplished. The "hope" that each of you bring is immeasurable. Our hearts are truly full with gratitude and love for each volunteer. I hope that you will pass this message on to the volunteers as one citizen does not speak for the whole community.

Thanks again for keeping this web site and keeping citizens informed. I was thinking that someone might want to make some posters to place at the "Y" in Pearlington, showing when a community meeting is to take place. If you can keep me informed as to when/where these meeting will take place, I will try and place posters up at the post office area, on the main 2 roads and at the "Y". Many citizens are unaware of any scheduled meetings that are taking place. Also, I have $30 in Wal-Mart gift cards for office supplies, where would you like me to bring them?

Thanks again for all you do,

Janet Dawson