Two years ago, Hurricane Katrina demolished Gulfport, Biloxi, D'Ibervile, and other cities across the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Her destruction was seen far inland and 85% of the state of Mississippi was affected.
On the Coast, many police stations and fire departments were washed away by Katrina's storm surge. As was Highway 90 in many places from Waveland to Pascagoula. There was no electricity, the communication system was in tatters(cell phones and land lines were useless), the water and sewage systems were not working. 65,000 homes were destroyed outright and later, 35,000 more homes had to be demolished.
Out of this chaos came help. Kessler Air Force Base suffered major flooding and 30% of the base suffered damage. This video shows the extent of the flooding.
In Gulfport, the Naval Construction Battalion Center suffered 30% damage due to wind. But it didn't stop the men and women at those bases from helping us out.
The Seabees from the NCBC provided the skills and helped Gulfport repair the vital water and sewage system. You could also see them repairing those Coastal schools that were left standing. The Marines stationed at there were out as soon as the winds died down and rescued many people stranded in trees and what was left of homes.
Kessler redirected its water supply so that people like my Mom and sister in Biloxi could have drinking water.
The National Guard provided much, much more. Imagine living in a county of 200,000 and only one traffic light working(3 days after Katrina. They directed traffic, they handed out water, ice, and MRE's, and they provided security.
From my home, I could see and hear the Coast Guard helicopters going toward the Biloxi River on rescue missions.
Without the strong military presence, the chaos along the Mississippi Gulf Coast would have so much worse.
In an effort to thank the men and women who so serve our country, I want to bring to your attention a unique program: Soldier's Angels: Project VALOUR-IT. This program provides laptop computers and the Department of Defense provides the voice-activation software for our men and women who are in military hospitals recovering from wounds. I'm part of the Navy/USCG team and a fundraiser is being held through Veteran's Day. In June 2007, the 1,000th computer was handed out at Walter Reed Army Medical Hospital. Please help us so those who are military hospitals can remain connected to family, friends, the outside world, and gain new technology skills.