New Agency Helping Evacuees

By Larry Little

It's taking some people a long time to recover because they are like evacuee Gus Collins who is starting over after living in New Orleans for over 80 years but a new agency in Nacogdoches is hoping to help disaster victims now and in the future. Hurricane evacuee Gus Collins is 84 years old. He's lived in New Orleans all of his life until hurricane Katrina. Gus lost everything he owned in the storm. "I went back but they had taken everything in the house and threw it out in the street and the garbage people picked it up. I left a lot of good clothes and tools and important papers I wasn't able to get," says Gus Collins.

Nacogdoches is now home for Gus and many other evacuees. Gus says his faith won't let him regret having to start over. "You go back to what the Bible says when the Jehovah told Abraham he had to move. He was a well off man with plenty of everything. He told him to go into a town he didn't know anything about. He went and he was pleased because he was doing as he was told to do. So bottom line is when I left there in a sense it was meant for me to leave there," says Collins.

The Nacogdoches Disaster Relief Council is a new agency to help evacuees like Gus who are still in need. "We are a new agency what we are is a collaboration of the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, and Love in the Name of Christ. We are just coming together to make sure all needs are met of people affected by disasters," says Cindy McReynolds.

Folks with the agency say they are preparing for future storms, but in the meantime they are rebuilding lives in East Texas.