Kentucky Student Volunteers Help Rebuild In Pass Christian

A Pass Christian woman is rebounding from Katrina thanks to some helping hands from Wilmore, Kentucky. About 30 college students from Asbury Christian College are spending their Spring Break doing volunteer work in the Pass.

"When FEMA fails you, when the Corps fails you, you can always count on volunteers, thank God," Pat Johnson said.

Johnson is happy to welcome students and professors from Asbury College in Kentucky. These volunteers are helping clear trees and debris from her Timber Ridge property. They're also building her a new storage shed.

"Everything that has been done this week would have costs a lot of money out of my expense account to rebuild this house. So it's immeasurable the value of volunteerism."

Johnson now considers them old friends.

This is the second trip to South Mississippi for some of these students. Asbury volunteers helped clear out her damaged home over Thanksgiving break.

"They came back to check on me," Johnson said.

Asbury students, like Alyssa Amey, say helping others in need is their American duty.

"After the hurricane hit, it was all I could think about. And I just really wanted to help these people," Amey said.

Mark Troyer, Associate Dean at Asbury, echoed her words.

"If we don't take care of each other in our country, then we're not a good country. And part of what we do in our liberal arts education is try to teach some of those principals. So for us, it's a great learning experience. It's a great way to live out our faith. It's a great way to just help people who have incredible need."

The students say it's not just about clearing or building a shed. It's about mending broken spirits and building a future.

"The real important thing is making a relationship with the person we're working for, like Pat here. It's just a great experience to make that relationship and get to know someone and just pour in her life what we can while we're here," student Aaron Farnham said.

A part of the home that Katrina took away from Johnson will always be with her. The students used some of the lumber from the demolished house to build her shed.

by Al Showers