Hurricane Season Doesn't Slow Rebuild And Recovery

Teenage girls from St. Louis have spent the week scraping and caulking and painting. Folks living in Missouri don't have to worry much about the threat of hurricanes.

But 16-year-old Mary Abernathy did know that hurricane season is now underway.

"Now?" she answered, when asked when the season begins.

"Oh no, maybe that's why we're leaving today," said the somewhat worried looking teenager.

That departure date is just a coincidence. Thanks to their volunteer efforts, they'll leave the coast in better shape than when they arrived. Those who've been here before can notice the difference.

"We drove around and saw some of the houses we did last year. And people are living there and fixed up. So, yeah, it's kind of nice to see. It's changed a lot in the last year," said returning volunteer, Angie Yarbrough.

June first is merely a footnote at Heidenheim Avenue and Roy Street in East Biloxi. That's where teams of volunteers are home building.

Crew boss Joe Dunker is from Northern Illinois. No hurricanes there either. But Rockford, Illinois is susceptible to something else.

"Tornadoes. My house was damaged by what they call a micro burst," said Dunker.

William Newman's house took a little harder hit in late August of '05.

"It was underwater, wrecked up pretty bad," said the Biloxi man. "Lost in the hurricane. So, I needed people to come back and help me out you know."

Those people are the endless stream of volunteers who've been coming ever since Katrina barged through. Hurricane season or not, there are still plenty of people who wouldn't live anywhere else.

"Because I like the Gulf Coast. I'm just going to fight it out," said a determined Newman.

Like so many volunteer groups, those teenage girls from Missouri are part of a long term commitment to help with hurricane recovery. Their Catholic High School in St. Louis will be sending teams of workers for the next several years.