Hancock County, IN Helps Rebuild Hancock County, MS

By Brad Kessie - bio | email

BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - The hospital staff from Indiana's Hancock Regional Hospital is back in Bay St. Louis. The group is once again performing surgery on Hancock Medical Center's Katrina damaged buildings.

Its leader is Bobby Keen.  He may not be very comfortable with a drill in his hand. But he sure knows how to put together a relief team.

"I'm just real happy to be here. It's been a great week. We've had a lot of fun," the CEO of Hancock Regional Hospital in Indiana said.

On three different occasions since Katrina, his staff and a host of other Indiana volunteers have rebuilt Hancock Medical Center in Mississippi. John Schowengerbt is a retired electrician who came to south Mississippi on this week's volunteer mission.

"We're fortunate enough not to need the help. So I feel fortunate and I want to go help others," he said.

Hal Leftwich runs the Bay St. Louis hospital that's getting so much TLC from Hancock County, Indiana.

"It's pretty spectacular when you think of the time that they take and the skills that they bring with them," said Leftwich.

On this trip, Hancock Regional volunteers put up brackets and sheet rock at Hancock Medical's Katrina damaged Port Bienville clinic.

"It really feels good to pay back, give back to the community. It really does," Schowengerbt thought.

He was working on the floor. Keen was standing on scaffolding above the rest of the group. It was as if the top man from Indiana's hospital had climbed to new heights.

"This is where you really want to be, because you're helping other people," said Keen.

His Mississippi counterpart was both impressed and relieved that Hancock Regional had such a keen interest in Hancock Medical Center's recovery.

"It's incredible," Leftwich said.

Hancock Medical Center still has several FEMA funded recovery projects that must be approved. In fact, medical center administrators met with FEMA representatives today to discuss a timetable for some of that work.