Neither fire nor flood can destroy a century old South Mississippi relief organization. This year, the Salvation Army of Gulfport is celebrating its 100th anniversary.
Katrina destroyed the organization's Gulfport offices, but leaders say they're working to rebuild a new Salvation Army from the inside out.
"Hurricane Katrina damaged all of our buildings here on this particular site. And we've looked at insurance to repair them, but it was something that we just needed to do to bring those buildings down and start over," says Major Rob Vincent with the Salvation Army.
First Katrina, then vandalism, and just weeks ago there was a fire at the Salvation Army property in Gulfport. Now workers are busy tearing down the buildings so that the organization can rebuild, with a brand new look and a brand new outlook.
"We needed to at least double the size of our shelter," Vincent says. "We are dealing with two homeless populations right now. Of course, the transient population that's coming into the area seeking work. Then there are those who have lost their homes due to the storm. They have basically been living with family and friends, now they need a place that they can stay, continue to work in the community, continue to improve themselves. So such a facility is needed."
That means replacing the four buildings that once stood on 20th Street with one single structure. Major Vincent says once funding is in place, the new building will serve the same purpose: to care for those who need help.
Major Vincent says they hope to break ground on the new property by the beginning of the summer.