Nonprofit Helps WLOX Reporter Rebuild - - The News for South Mississippi

Nonprofit Helps WLOX Reporter Rebuild

Hurricane Katrina leveled more than 70,000 homes in South Mississippi, including the Bay St. Louis home of our own Hancock County reporter Al Showers.

Like many residents who decided to stay here despite damage to their homes, Al's close to having a place to call home again with a lot of help from the Giving Circle out of Saratoga Springs, New York.

"My recovery process has gone pretty much like a lot of people in South Mississippi. First it was the insurance battle, I had a contractor walk out on me," Showers said.

Al Showers can relate to many of the post-Katrina stories he's covered in Hancock County. Like many of the people he's interviewed, Al lost everything in the storm. He's been living in a FEMA trailer for the past year and a half, but he's building back bigger and stronger.

"The house I owned before the storm was on the ground. This one is 14 feet off the ground. I'm going to have to get used to a lot of stair climbing," Showers said.

Al is looking forward to moving into his new home in the fall, thanks to a helping hand from a nonprofit organization.

"Mark Bertrand is the founder of the Giving Circle. They're based out of Saratoga Springs, New York. When he found out my contractor walked out on me, he assembled a team of carpenters, laborers and contractors to come help me," Showers said.

"The reason we've been able to do quite a bit, and continue to do quite a bit, in Waveland and for the people of Hancock is because of the help of Al Showers, who's become a real friend to us and has helped us quite a bit. He's never asked us for anything. So when we heard Al needed help, we put a team together and came down," Mark Bertrand of the Giving Circle said.

Al pitches in with the rebuilding when he can, but admits he's not much of a handy man.

"Al's been a lot of help, cooking, making lunch, bringing us drinks," joked Dustin Wetzel, also of the Giving Circle.

Al hopes it won't be long before he can sip on a drink, and soak in the view from one of his favorite places in the world.

The Giving Circle adopted Waveland as its sister city after Katrina. And as you may know, Al was working at the Emergency Operations Center in Hancock County during Katrina as the storm washed away everything he owned.

By Toni Miles

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