Anita Ferrill is happy to be back in her home of 44 years here on Strangi Avenue. She never thought she would be at this point just nine months after Katrina.
"I had 7 1/2 feet of water and had to take everything out. We dumped everything out. Family and friends started helping me on September 1st and then I met Bart Tucker," said Ferrill.
And it's Bart Tucker and the more than 200 volunteers of Habitat for Humanity of Northern Virginia that helped to restore Mrs. Ferrill's home along with 10 others throughout East Biloxi.
Wednesday afternoon, they all officially celebrated by holding a "Welcome Home to East Biloxi" party, but it was more of a celebration of hope, in an area where many believed hope would not return.
"They didn't even know us. And we just want to thank you. East Biloxi, as homeowners, we want to thank you volunteers," said one appreciative homeowner.
"We were just really impressed by the historical nature of East Biloxi and the diversity, and we really like the fact that it was a multi-racial environment, and the people here in East Biloxi... many of them were in desperate need because of the financial situation or physical situation.So, we would come in with twelve people and roll in on a house and muck it out in two days or a day in a half, and with a homeowner, that would take a month and so we gave energy back and we gave hope," said Habitat For Humanity of Northern Virginia team leader Bart Tucker.
"It's just unbelievable to come this far nine months to have these people put back in their homes, and the help we've received from Bart and Habitat for Humanity and all the volunteer group. It's just unbelievable that people pulled together and worked that hard," said Biloxi Ward 1 Councilman George Lawrence.
And for that hard work, Anita Ferrill is grateful.
"If it hadn't been for Habitat of Northern Virginia, I don't know what I would have done," said Ferrill.
And the Northern Virginia Habitat group is not finished yet.
The volunteers are currently restoring six more East Biloxi homes, and they plan to do more in the near future.