Elderly Couple Inspires A Gulfport Neighborhood

It's an inspirational story about a couple who simply won't quit. She's 80, he's 85. But still every day since the storm, Joivan and Alma Kitchen go to their Gulfport home near the beach and Cowan Road and work eight hours a day.

The volunteers now helping them rebuild say we could all learn a lot from this hard-working couple.

"The walls were out, debris was in it about three feet deep," volunteer Greg Riggs says as he recalls how the Kitchen's home looked a week after the storm.

That's when he and other North Carolina Baptist men first arrived to help.

"We were moving the debris away from the house and it was up to the middle of the windows."

But what amazed him more than the massive piles of debris, were the homeowners themselves.

"The enthusiasm they have and their vigor for life is just unbelievable. They're just saintly people."

Just days after Katrina hit, the elderly couple was the first on their street to begin picking up the pieces. Mr. Kitchen has spent every day working since the storm. He's a cancer survivor with two knee replacements, who simply won't quit.

His wife says, "I think he's astronomical. When he moved those deep freezers and refrigerator off this driveway, I don't know how? Yes, I do. I do know. The good Lord stood beside him and said, 'Yes, you can do it.'"

Their "can do" attitude has inspired the younger ones on their devastated street as well as the volunteers who are now helping them rebuild.

"They are just great people. You can't believe how incredible they are at their age," Riggs said.

Alma Kitchen says, "That's what God has put us here for. Even though I'm old, I've still got a purpose. God has got more work for me. I've got to get out here and train these little ones."