Habitat Volunteers Rebuilding Homes And Hope In Biloxi

When Katrina's flood waters rose three feet in Billy Nguyen's house on Dorries Street, all he could think about was saving his two young daughters and pregnant wife. He immediately carried his family up a ladder and into the attic.

"I was scared, scared not for me, but for my children. They're so little, and one is a ten-month-old baby," Nguyen said.

When the water finally went down, Nguyen found the family's house of 13 years covered in mud and his belongings ruined. Nguyen knew he had to restore his house. That's when Habitat for Humanity entered the picture.

Bart Tucker is the Habitat Leader for the north Virginia team.

"We were working in the neighborhood and I saw Billy working on cleaning up his house. We engaged in a conversation with him and quickly determined that he was a man who needed help. We were excited, because he was clearly somebody who cared about his home."

So Nguyen and the Virginia Habitat volunteers are working side-by-side, repairing the roof and rebuilding the interiors. Along the way, Nguyen and the volunteers are building a lasting bond.

"I just get tremendous satisfaction out of knowing Billy, and thinking about making his family whole again. It's just simple. It feels good. It's the right thing to do," Tucker said.

"I am so excited, because now my children have a place to live. I can't believe there are so many good people out there," Nguyen said.

The volunteers raised more than $80,000 to rebuild Nguyen's home and two other houses in East Biloxi. They've also cleaned a total of 21 homes since they arrived in Biloxi in early September.