Katie reminded me tonight that I haven’t blogged in a while, and I know that I promised to write when I got back in town from this weekend, but I just haven’t had the time to do it yet. I don’t really want to write tonight because it’s midnight and I want to go to bed, so I’ll try to keep this short. I drove 2.5 hours to Chattanooga, TN on Friday night and met the rest of my group there. From there, we drove the rest of the night to Hattiesburg, MS and luckily I didn’t have to drive on the way down because I slept almost the entire time. When we started getting near the southern part of Alabama closer to Mississippi gas started disappearing. We made several stops at places that were open but didn’t have any gas. When we finally found a place it was cheaper than gas here by like 50 cents or more. We arrived in Hattiesburg at about 7:15 a.m. We got together to regroup and started working by 8 a.m. after supplies had been unloaded and everyone had changed into work clothes.
The site was actually not what I was expected. Although I guess I really didn’t know what to expect. There were already piles of trees (literally) on the side of the roads where people had started cleaning up and there were even more trees just chilling in peoples yards, on houses, and in some cases in houses. We immediately got out chainsaws and started cutting up trees after being pointed in the direction of houses we were going to be working on. Around 4:30 or 5 that afternoon we stopped working and showered at John and Jennifer’s house and they prepared dinner for us. We slept on the floor at John’s factory. On Sunday we got up around 6:30 and packed up and loaded our bags and attended the Church of Carey Robinson in the parking lot before going back to John’s house and starting work around the neighborhood and out at his new lake house where a ton of trees had come down across the road to his house and the path down to the lake.
Most of what we cut up were trees that had made it all the way to the ground, however Farron and Jason spent all day Sunday removing three massive pine trees from a ladies house on the corner of the next block. She had been told by a tree removal company that a crane was needed to get the trees off without damaging the house. Well, Farron and Jason got all three trees off without a crane and without serious damage to anything other than the soffet of the carport which was already damaged from the tree initially.
Most of Hattiesburg was without any utilities when were were there, although gas was starting to make it into stations and there were plenty of utility trucks flowing into the city from out of town. Gas was being controlled by the local sheriff’s department and MPs. Because gas was being rationed, a lot of people parked their cars and brought gas cans with them so they didn’t have to idle their car for several hours and burn all of their gas ration from the previous time. People were tired of not having any utilities, but for the most part, they seemed content to having weathered the hurricane as well as they did. Most of the damage is only wind and tree damage and is easily reparable. There was no flooding in Hattiesburg so most houses haven’t been left in ruin although a few were destroyed by trees.
Here are my pictures.