Evacuees Appreciate Help From Lufkin

by Larry Little

Hurricane Katrina evacuees in the Lufkin shelter have told East Texas News their stories of being trapped in their flooded homes and going without food and water for days. But when they arrived in Lufkin, Red Cross volunteers greeted them with a smile.

Red Cross volunteer Doug Holland said, "It's just like helping your neighbor. If I was in trouble, I would hope someone in their community would be able to help us out. We are just being a neighbor."

Paul Hornick, a California college senior, dropped out of school to volunteer with the Red Cross. He says what he saw on TV of desperate hurricane victims and it made him want to help. "I was only taking two classes," he said. "I was like, man, you have everything, and I was like these people have nothing. I was like, 'get off your butt and do something.'"

Though his graduation is postponed, Paul says this is an experience he'll never forget. "Here they are smiling and giving me hugs, and they just light up and there is joy about them."

Doug Holland says he's blown away and thankful folks in East Texas have been the calm in the storm for evacuees. "We appreciate the generosity and caring people in this area. They've given from their hearts...it just shows a great light in this community of how much people care.