OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - On Wednesday, Ocean Springs community leaders joined AT&T officials to commemorate the devastating storm that was Hurricane Katrina. The event paid tribute to the resilience and collaborative spirit of the Ocean Springs community and those working at the AT&T Call Center after the storm.
Even 10 years later, remembering Katrina's fury still brings tears to the eyes of many. With so much lost and destroyed, one bit of hope came from the Ocean Springs AT&T Call Center.
"We did everything from food, to a tent city, to showers to clothing. Whatever was needed, and really it was the people here that put a focus on the community," said CEO of AT&T Mobility Glenn Lurie.
Lurie is talking about people like Karla Coumanis, who's worked for AT&T for 23 years. Coumanis said experiencing such devastation built a devotion with the employees that stayed with the company after the storm.
"Our center is stronger. We're a top performing center. Always have been for AT&T, and I think it's because a lot of folks say we're like a family at work, but here we really are," Coumanis said.
She says the focus for the company after the storm wasn't business, but the community and what people needed.
"We were thinking about food, clothing, water, diapers, ice, gas. Basic essentials. I can say that our company and all of our leaders, that was the only thing on our mind," Coumanis said.
"What's very important to us whenever there's good things happening, we're involved. When we have situations like this hurricane and what it did, we had to mobilize and make sure that we show this community how much we care for the community, and the great thing was the people in the center that did that," Lurie said.
"We here by recognize the employees of the Ocean Springs AT&T Call Center for their strength during Katrina and servant leadership, and officially proclaim today, Aug. 19, 2015, as Ocean Springs AT&T Call Center Day," said Ocean Springs Alderman at Large Bobby Cox.
Since the storm, the call center has had a community event every month to support national and local charities.