BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - There's a long recovery still ahead in Texas, and one of the leading volunteers with Operation BBQ Relief - a former Ocean Springs resident - has been on the front lines since day one; providing victims not just with food, but also hope.
The group's volunteers are more than just good cooks. They offer compassion.
"They're a slice of America that you find around the grill in your backyard," said volunteer Raines Rushin by phone. "As long as they're out there doing that grill, you know food's going to be good and you're going to have a better time no matter what."
Rushin now calls Houston home. His first thought after the storm was a familiar one.
"Not again, not again. I saw it in '05 in Ocean Springs and I didn't want to see it happen again here," said Rushin. "But it did."
Rushin was among the first members of OBR to begin the long road to recovery.
"I just crossed my fingers and hoped that it wouldn't affect me to the point where I couldn't help," said Rushin.
On Sunday, hundreds of volunteers in two different distribution sites served 150,000 meals.
"We're not going to stop until the need is complete," Rushin said. "It's until we're not needed any more. Someone's going to have to tell us to go."
He became involved with the organization through people like Coast volunteer, James Edward Bates. It doesn't really matter where he's deployed to help; n Missouri or even in his own backyard.
"You've got to go to where the help is needed," Bates said. "You've got to travel, you've got to sacrifice. It's always personal to me."
Rushin says the enthusiasm in Houston now is overwhelming.
"You can't feel bad in Houston, because there's so many working together. The neighborhoods have come together, everyone in Houston. It's Houston strong, Texas strong."