Still rebuilding in Pearlington
Dear Editor:I recently had the honor of accompanying the Colorado Rocky Mountain School senior class for a week of service work in our adopted community of Pearlington, Miss. The week was full of hard work as we assisted in the ongoing effort of debris removal and reconstruction. We were accompanied by several members of the Carbondale Fire Department who provided invaluable guidance to our work crews.The community of Pearlington welcomed us with open arms and showed their appreciation daily. Their struggles were evident as a large majority of these families are still living in 28-foot FEMA trailers as they try to sort through what remains of their lives and what choices are available to them as they move forward. Although it is now some 19 months since Katrina ravaged Pearlington, local, state and federal assistance is either not evident or slow in becoming available. It is clear that the rebuilding efforts are being done through the efforts of the residents themselves and volunteer groups such as CRMS. Our reward was found in the faces and emotions of those families that we assisted and this will linger with us long into the future.The Pearlington Project, Mountains to Mississippi, has delivered hope and dignity to many families in Pearlington. There is still a tremendous amount of work to do. Approximately 75 percent of Pearlington residents are still living in FEMA trailers and need assistance to rebuild their homes. The project has been funded through private donations and if you are interested in contributing to this community effort, please contact the Aspen Valley Medical Foundation at http://www.avmfaspen.org for donation information.I want to extend many thanks to the donors that made this trip possible, the guidance and leadership of the Pearlinglon Project Manager Torn Dalessandri; CRMS faculty members Doranne Pitts, Laura McCormick, Tom McKee and Nancy Hanrahan; and Carbondale Fire Department members Ron Leach, Vern Holmes, Bill Gavette and Jake Spaulding. Most important, thanks to the CRMS senior class – you put words into action and made a difference!Hilary FletcherCarbondale
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