Two Tough Ladies Help Clean Up The Coast

As a monitor for FEMA, Ida Punzo of Biloxi has a lot of debris cleanup subcontractors to watch over. But to her, one company stands out.

"These girls really tickle me," says Punzo. "They're just a two woman wrecking team. A force to be dealt with."

Sue Hinson of Brownfield, Texas operates the front end loader.

"We get up around 4:30," says Hinson. "We just start working and loading."

Adria-Ann Crotwell, also of Brownfield, drives the trucks and maintains the equipment.

"Sue loads and I haul," says Crotwell. "A lot of times while she's loading, I'm doing maintenance. You know something breaks, I go fix it."

And together, they are the sole owners and employees of Flying H Contractors.

"We're the cleanup chicks," the two partners proudly proclaim.

Forming Flying H was a big career move for both.

"I had a safety company. I sold to the oil fields," says Hinton.

"And I had farmed for 26 years, raised cotton" Crotwell says.

As females in a male dominated profession, they've grown accustomed to attention.

"A lot of double takes with people driving by," says Hinton.

"Sometimes, you know, people may make the block two or three times to look," says Crotwell. "Then they'll stop and visit."

But it's because of those visits that both are reassured that they've found their true career calling.

"A lot of these people became our friends and our family," says Crotwell. "They know when we're coming. They come out and speak to us. We see their hurt and their pain."

It's the type of emotion most contractors would never express. But as their FEMA supervisor has said all along, Sue and Adria-Ann aren't most contractors.

"They could work circles around men," says Punzo. "You know we are domestic engineers and it's a filthy town and somebody has got to clean it up, so why not the ladies."