Gifts From Hawaii Arrive At Hancock County Schools

"Hawaii is a long a way from here. It's very, very warm," said Vicki Morrison with a smile.

Morrison's visit to Gulfview Elementary Friday came at the perfect time.

"People in Hawaii said we've got to do something for those kids. I know they're freezing. We've go to send them some shirts," said Morrison.

So Morrison personally delivered more than 500 sweatshirts from Hawaii. Each one came in the school color, logo, and mascot name.

"It's wonderful. Thank you very much", the teachers said.

Morrison fits right in in Hancock County. She taught at East Hancock Elementary for more than two years before moving to Hawaii four years ago.

"We miss home so much, and this still feels like home for us," Morrison said.

Morrison's class in Honolulu spearheaded fundraising drives to help the two Hancock County schools destroyed by Katrina.

"It's very emotional to see how something that small means to them," said Morrison.

"Our children not only lost their homes, but they lost their school. And to have t-shirts and sweatshirts that say 'Gulfview Elementary Bulldogs,' it gave us a sense of identity that we could claim as our own," said school counselor Penny Torgeson.

Fifth grader Cody Shiyou agreed. "They represent our school. I miss that, because our school is like the best thing that ever happened to me."

Sweatshirts also went to each student at Charles B. Murphy Elementary.

"You got your very own Charles B. Murphy Rocket shirts," one teacher said as she held up a red sweatshirt.

"It fits good, and it really feels good too, cause when you're outside, it keeps you warm," said Tyler Barnhart.

A warm gift that deserves a warm hug.

"In Hawaii, we say Mahalo for thank you," said Morrison as she hugged the children.

"Mahalo!" the students shouted and cheered.

The people in Hawaii also donated 300 uniforms to East Hancock and North Central Elementary Schools, 25 computers and printers, and they're setting up an account to rebuild libraries in every classroom.