New Life Disaster Relief Hosts Volunteer Fest

Rebuilding the Gulf Coast after Katrina’s devastation would have never been possible without the selfless help of volunteers.
Tonight, a local volunteer group hosted “Volunteer Fest” in Biloxi to thank those who showed compassion to communities who lost it all.
It was an emotional reunion for Joey Boucher and Rich Garcia. The last time they saw each other was ten years ago when they traveled to the Coast to volunteer in the midst of complete devastation. “I knew when I was walking over, that’s JoJo,” said Garcia.
After Hurricane Katrina, Rich Garcia flew into Gulfport from Pennsylvania. Joey Boucher, or JoJo as he is often called, traveled from Memphis, Tennessee. “I knew I had to sign up,” said Boucher, “but I didn’t know it was going to have that impact on me. So, like I said, I signed up for three days and I stayed for four months.”
This reunion, just a day before the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, was only possible because of Volunteer Fest. This is an event Ken Wetzel, the director of New Life Disaster Relief, has been planning for eight years now. “It came to me that we need to be giving thanks to God for all of his provision and that we needed to thank the volunteers for all that we had received from them. This was actually birthed in my heart about eight years ago and I still can’t believe it’s coming to fruition,” said Wetzel.
More than just reuniting long lost volunteers, Volunteer Fest also provided a time for volunteers to see in person just how much the Gulf Coast has rebuilt. “Everything’s moving. Everything looks so different but there’s little blotches that you see and you don’t know if they’re going to be rebuilt but there is some construction going on, so something’s happening,” said Garcia.
According to New Life Disaster Relief Director Ken Wetzel, over 950,000 people from all over the United States volunteered themselves after Hurricane Katrina.

Categories: Local News, News

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