Katrina survivors aid in Salvation Army’s Michael response

By Michelle Hartfield –

Thirteen years ago, Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast.

Audrey McLean remembers that day well. Her parents lived in Gulfport, Mississippi, not far from the beach, and were left without a house once the waters receded.

The flooding, largely a byproduct of fatal engineering flaws in the flood protection system around the region, caused most of the loss of lives and property damage.

“We were lucky,” McLean said. “The house wasn’t completely destroyed, but we were in a FEMA trailer for a long time.”

She remembers driving up through the state of Mississippi and being amazed at how far inland the damage continued.

One of the areas hit hard by Hurricane Michael was Albany, Georgia, where McLean’s sister, Leslie, lives. So McLean and her 6-year-old son, Cam, drove down from Atlanta to help their family and volunteer with The Salvation Army. They spent a day helping distribute cleaning kits and boxes of food to Albany residents in need.

McLean remembers well how it feels to start the recovery process and the difference a small act of kindness can make.

“It’s always good to come out and help,” she said. “Plus, I want my son to know we need to help other people because they would help us if the situations were reversed.”

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