Life Beyond Katrina: Doug deSilvey's journey to recovery

Life Beyond Katrina: Doug deSilvey's journey to recovery

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - For Doug deSilvey, one could say his veins run with Biloxi blood. A proud coast resident for most of his life, deSilvey has always been one to lead.

"I'm the type of guy, I'm going to be in charge so I don't think anything's going to be wrong with me. Lordy did I have an awakening."

Doug was set to ride out the storm at his mother in law's house in Gulf Hills with his daughter, wife of 20 years, along with his mother in law and her husband. He expected to be safe since the house was 18 feet above the back bay, but Katrina turned his life upside down.

The storm surge destroyed the house with deSilvey and his family inside.

"I swam out and got on top of the roof and stuff. It started getting dark, the wind was dying down, just a light rain and you could see the water going down and I looked around and all four of them were floating," said deSilvey.

His family, the people he was closest to, was gone. The days, months and years following haven't been easy for deSilvey. He's grieved and struggled. But now, thanks to the help of countless friends and a psychiatrist, Doug is looking to the future.

"She drove home the point that it's behind you, be positive and move forward."

The best way to move forward is to stay busy and Doug has no problem with that, saying he's glad to help whoever he can. One of many jobs keeping him busy is a 22-lawn grass cutting business.

What also helps, talking about who he lost.

"I just didn't want their names to slide away into history. Without know who they were and what they were and what they were about."

Those names: Linda deSilvey, Nadine and Ted Gifford are now included on the Katrina Monument in Biloxi. Along with his daughter Donna, she was an athletic trainer. Doug is reminded of her all the time.

"I don't know where this girl got her smarts, maybe from her Momma," said deSilvey. "One night I'm sitting on the back porch looking at this medical book, it's this thick. Just flipping through there, thinking, just thinking just how smart she was. She was a smart young lady."

Doug hasn't forgotten and says won't forget. But he is at peace with what's happened and knows there's still more to the story.

"They're in Heaven waiting on me," said deSilvey. "So whenever the good Lord thinks I'm ready to go I'll be up there."

Until then, he'll enjoy spending the time he has on his beloved Mississippi Coast.

deSilvey says that an addition he'd like to see at the Katrina Monument in Biloxi would be pictures added to the wall, so visitors could see the faces with the names of those who lost their lives.

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