BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - D'Sean Sheppard, his mother and brother will be observing the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina about a month late from a different, stronger and safer perspective; their new home.
The house on Seal Boulevard in Bay St. Louis should be finished by the end of September, thanks to the Bay-Waveland Area Habitat for Humanity and volunteers like those with AmeriCorps.
"It means everything to me," Sheppard said. "I couldn't have done it without these good, lovely people and their passion, respectful and loyalty to us. I just want to thank them for everything they've done for us."
That's what motivates the volunteers at Habitat. This new home is number 202 for the affiliate, which has also rehabbed 599 homes.
The new homes in Bay St. Louis are built beyond code and meet hurricane resistance and green home standards. None have been built in flood zones.
"As the 10th anniversary of Katrina is approaching, obviously this home is very special to us," said Holly Ladner, with Habitat for Humanity Bay-Waveland Area. "It helps us to remember how far we've come and all the help we've received."
The volunteers with AmeriCorps have been a big part of the effort since Habitat began rebuilding homes in 2006. Janna Jesson is with National Civilian Community Corps, one of several organizations under the AmeriCorps banner.
"Basically, Habitat for Humanity is the reason why I joined this entire program, because it just felt really fulfilling when we were working on the house in New Orleans," Jesson said. "I just felt like I had to do it again."
Ryan Rupp is construction manager with the Habitat affiliate. He's worked with thousands of volunteers all over the world, and AmeriCorps ranks near the top.
"The bulk of the work is done by volunteers, and that's really our passion and it's vital to what we do," Rupp said. "The AmeriCorps program is vital to our survivability. They've helped us in more ways than I can count."