Church invites Katrina volunteers back to Ocean Springs - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Church invites Katrina volunteers back to Ocean Springs

One church in Ocean Springs served as a volunteer headquarters for a while after Katrina. (Photo source: WLOX) One church in Ocean Springs served as a volunteer headquarters for a while after Katrina. (Photo source: WLOX)
Church members say surrounding communities would be a lot different today had it not been for the huge response of volunteers. (Photo source: WLOX) Church members say surrounding communities would be a lot different today had it not been for the huge response of volunteers. (Photo source: WLOX)
The church has invited all the volunteers to come back and see how much progress has been made. (Photo source: WLOX) The church has invited all the volunteers to come back and see how much progress has been made. (Photo source: WLOX)
OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) -

Over the weeks, months and even years after Hurricane Katrina tore through the Coast. Relief efforts were overwhelming.

Recovery was made possible by the support that poured in from all corners of the world. 

One church in Ocean Springs served as a volunteer headquarters for a while after the storm. Now that church is wanting to say thanks ten years later.

For some members of Saint Paul United Methodist in Ocean Springs, ten years seems like yesterday.

They say surrounding communities would be a lot different today had it not been for the huge response of volunteers.

"I think something good really came out of something bad," said Mark Faircloth.

Faircloth helped turn the church into a central hub for the crowds that came from around the country to help.

"It was just amazing the number of people that just showed up," Faircloth said.

According to Faircloth, the church's location, industrial kitchen and other amenities made Saint Paul a perfect fit to host what he calls a blessing from God.

Ann Utterback says prayers were answered when the Coast was most desperate for help.

"What we got was God sending thousands and thousands of volunteers down here," said Utterback.

According to Nancy Lemon, the number of volunteers was somewhere in the 20,000 range. Now Utterback and others in the church have organized a weekend to give back and say thanks. 

To do that, the church has invited all the volunteers to come back and see how much progress has been made.

"We want to honor those and honor the occasion of God's helping hand that came. It was just incredible," said Lemon.

According to Lemon, the church doesn't want the get together to focus on the past, but rather look forward to what is in store. 

Faircloth said he's hoping the volunteers see that the feeling of devastation has started to fade, but that another feeling remains.

"The feeling of thanks is never going to go away," Faircloth said.

The church is also inviting the community to come out next weekend to say thank you to returning volunteers. The weekend will conclude with services on Sunday.

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