Katrina help

This is not an obligatory post about Katrina. The after affects of this hurricane are the top news item on most sites and stations I've looked at. I typically eschew current events on my site in favor of tech, friends, and family, but I feel moved to post this.

In Tallahassee, we are on the edge of the affected areas. Katrina gave us a nice amount of rain. The grass is well watered, but there was no flooding. The winds were lower than we get in some thunderstorms.

Even so, significant support infrstructure for Florida comes from New Orleans. It's is difficult to place long-distance calls because so many lines are down and so much equipment was damaged. There is a gas shortage to to a more lengthy supply chain, and this is worsened by panic buying and population surges as people find places to settle while New Orleans and Gulfport are rebuilt. Worse of all in my mind, daily production of natural gas to Florida is cut by a third. Most of our power comes from natural gas. At best, electricity costs are going to skyrocket, at worst we're going to have rolling blackouts.

Remember, Florida was almost completely untouched by Katrina's major landfall (she did hit the southern end of the state as a Category 1).

There is anxiety in this region of the country about what happens next to us. This is, of course, overshadowed by concern for what happens to the countless people who are now homeless and jobless. Please consider a donation to the Red Cross or another charity that offers relief. iTunes makes it very easy to donate.

Also, please read the email and letter below.

I know that many of you personally know someone who was affected by Hurricane Katrina. I don't have a family member or close friend that has been affected but I received this letter from a good friend and she does have a personal connection to this family.

Nancy Burke is a mom of two daughters who received a heart transplant fifteen years ago shortly after the birth of her first daughter, Sarah. She is married to Kelly Burke who is a Tallahassee Police officer.

Nancy was able to meet the family of her heart donor (a sixteen year old girl) and they have become very close over the years. The donor family, the Brubakers, are from Chalmette, LA. Their family is now in the middle of another life crisis. Please read the attached letter from Nancy. I know many of you have contributed in other ways but if you haven't and would like to, please consider Nancy's request. Thanks!


August 31, 2005

Dear Friend,

As you may know, my donor’s family is from New Orleans. Their names are Dave & Vicki Brubaker and they live in Chalmette, LA just southeast of the city. I spoke with Vicki the day of the storm (Monday the 29th) from Gadsden, AL where she had taken refuge at a hotel with her parents, Odette & Victor Colombo and her two sisters and their families. (Dave had to stay behind as an essential employee of St. Bernard Parish). With much despair she told me that she had been in contact with Dave and their home was totally submerged as was much of their parish where she and most of her family members live. I have not been able to get a call through to her today, but it appears that things in the New Orleans area are not getting better, but much worse.

I cannot imagine how difficult this situation must be for the thousands of people affected by this hurricane. To lose your home and all of your belongings and then not be able to get back to it to try to pick up the pieces must be heart breaking. It may be weeks before they can return and when they do, there will be no place for them to stay as she, her parents and both sisters lost their homes. The Brubakers are literally homeless as are most people from that huge city.

As friends have called to check on this special family, they have asked what they could do. I really do not know their specific needs, because yesterday Vicki was still absorbing what had happened and didn’t know what their next move would be. But I know the financial strain is enormous for them to bear. This family is very special to me. There is the obvious reason of the gift of their daughter, Tammi’s, heart, but also because they have embraced me and my family and loved us since we met almost 11 years ago. I know there is nothing I can ever do to repay what they have given me, but I would like to help them during this crisis in their lives.

I have opened a special account at Premier Bank to accept donations to be given to the Brubaker family. I won’t know if you do or you don’t, so please don’t feel pressured to do this. Thousands of people are in their same situation and you may already know of someone else from that area who needs your help. But if you would like to help this family, please send your gift of any amount to Premier Bank, c/o Brubaker Support Acct., 3110 Capital Circle NE, Tallahassee, FL 32308. Make check payable to Brubaker Support Acct. c/o Nancy Burke.
And if this is something you don’t feel comfortable about or led to participate in, I hope you will consider a gift to the American Red Cross or the Salvation Army as they courageously lead the efforts to help all of those affected. And most of all PRAY. Pray for Jesus’ loving arms to embrace this special family and all those affected by this horrific storm. Pray for His comfort and peace to flourish in their hearts. Pray for the leaders of the cities affected, their emergency personnel, law enforcement and healthcare workers. And pray for God to be honored and glorified through everything. He is always with us in the midst of the storm. He is our peace and comfort.

Thank you for reading this long letter. God bless you.