Katrina survivors still touched by volunteers' compassion

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - At the American Red Cross Katrina Memorial Blood Drive we had a difficult time finding South Mississippians willing to talk about what happened on August 29, 2005. Not because they were camera shy, but because they said even eight years later the memories are still just too painful.

On August 29 2013, people were rolling up their sleeves to donate blood and give the gift of life. Many of those same people said their lives forever changed on that same day eight years earlier.

Doris Riverse moved to Vancleave after Hurricane Katrina because of a frightful experience.

"We had nine feet of water. My family lost everything in Katrina because they were on the beach in Ocean Springs."

"We were at my dad's apartment staying. Me and my brother and my dad," said Liz Thornburg. "We were flooded about chest high in flood waters. It was a really scary situation. It really was. I really didn't think I was going to make it, but somehow or another we made it through."

People said as horrible as the Katrina was they were deeply touched by the compassion they saw, especially from volunteers.

An emotional Sheralyn Hornsby said, "It brought people closer together. A lot of people helping each other. So that was good."

"We're all in need at some point in our lives," Thornburg said. "So if you can give, when you're in need, hopefully, someone can repay the favor."

Instead of how much we've lost, some people say prefer to think about how far we've come.

"Katrina does bring back a lot of bad memories for everyone," Pam Dobbins said. "But we've come so far since Katrina and all of the help we got from everyone. It's been eight years and it was rough, but we were blessed. We were blessed. God was looking out for us that day."

People said what they learned is to always be prepared because a Katrina-like storm could happen again.

The Red Cross blood drive continues at Edgewater Mall Friday until 7pm.

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