Mennonites, Pass Rotarians move two more families back home - - The News for South Mississippi

Mennonites, Pass Rotarians move two more families back home

By Jessica Bowman – email

PASS CHRISTIAN, MS (WLOX) - Friday two newly rebuilt homes were dedicated in Pass Christian. The Mennonites and the Pass Christian Rotary Club have been partners since Katrina helping individuals and families come back home.

Emotions ran high as each homeowner made their way into their new home.

"Coming back home," Hazel Johnson said. "Coming back home to the Gulf Coast, being back on Church Street."

"I just don't know what to say," Georgia Armstrong said. "I'm so happy, I'm trying not to cry. I'm just surprised."

Two new 1,100 square foot homes now sit off of Church Street. Each home has three bedrooms and two full baths.

"I'm just blessed, just thank the Lord that I'm back home again," said Armstrong.

As Armstrong received the keys to her new home, she fought back tears.

Armstrong will live in the 27th and final home built by the Mennonite Disaster Service Team in conjunction with the Pass Christian Rotary Club. The two groups have helped rebuild homes and lives on the coast since November 2005.

Pass Christian Rotary Club member Kathie Short said, "It's a very special home for us to bring another person back in town."

Mayor Chipper McDermott said, "That's two new houses, two new families and it's another step in recovery."

Homeowner Hazel Johnson lived in Pass Christian for more than 30 years before Katrina came ashore.

"We just took of riding that night," Johnson remembered. "We didn't know where we was going to end up."

Now Johnson will be able to move her belongings from Montgomery, Alabama back to the home she has been longing for.

"Well , I think it's beautiful and it's a gift from God, a blessing," said Johnson.

Johnson's son John said, "My mother couldn't wait to get home and its just such a huge blessing. We're still kind of pinching ourselves because it's hard to believe. I mean, it really is."

Johnson and Armstrong also receive a Bible and a handmade quilt from the Mennonites to commemorate their new home.

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