Volunteers Helping Remove Dead Trees In Hancock County - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Volunteers Helping Remove Dead Trees In Hancock County

Dozens of dead trees, still standing after Katrina, came crashing down Tuesday night in Hancock County. They were easily outmatched by a strong line of thunderstorms. And that has many residents, like Marvin Thompson, worried for their safety.

"It wasn't even what I would call a high wind event, it was a rain storm it doesn't take much to topple them," Thompson said.

Gwen Smith, Director of the Mississippi State Extension Service's Hancock County office, said even small tree pose a potential hazard.

"We're in a time race against nature," Smith said.

Smith has been working with County Supervisors for months to get FEMA funding to remove dead trees. Only recently, did FEMA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers agree to take down dead trees along the public rights of way in the most populated areas.

"The concern is that they're not be able to remove them in the time frame in which they are going to be here," Smith said. "Their deadline, I think, is at the end of this month."

But Smith said even that won't help home and business owners. Luckily, the volunteer group Persevere is working to fill that void.

"We'll come out and assess the trees and if we can handle it, we'll take them down for you," the group's director, Bill Driscoll Jr. said.

"A lot of volunteer groups in the area are doing sheet rock, rebuilding. We'll probably be moving on to that, but for right now, I think this is the biggest need we can fulfill," volunteer Jennifer Marsh said.

If you need help with trees, you can contact Persevere at (228) 533-2116. Remember, these are volunteers. They are not licensed tree surgeons or bonded. And homeowners will be asked to sign a waiver of liability.

by Al Showers

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