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The Pueblo Chieftain Online

September 7, 2005


Hurricane survivors find new home in Pueblo

The Suber family arrives in Pueblo Tuesday evening after escaping the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. Pictured (from left) are: Reeneka, 9; baby Joshlynn; and Renisha, 8. Pictured in background from left: mother, Renee, and Hysendera, 12.

Joshua Suber, his wife, Rene, and six children were among the thousands of weary evacuees at the Houston Astrodome last week - dazed that their home in New Orleans was under water, but grateful to have escaped the misery of that flooded city.

"I kept walking past this (volunteer) at the Astrodome every day, saying, 'I know you can find somebody to adopt us, Suber, 39, laughed Tuesday evening after just arriving in Pueblo with his family.

Suber was right. The woman volunteer went on the Internet and when all the messaging was finished, the Suber family had been connected to Doug Sterner of Pueblo, and the Angel Flight West humanitarian pilots organization.

Sterner's Home of Heroes Relocating Project had a house (plus several apartments) waiting in Pueblo and the Angel Flight organization was poised to fly the Subers here. All of that happened Tuesday.

It wouldn't have been fair to ask the Subers their impression of the Steel City on Tuesday. They had the tired, glazed eyes of people who have been adrift too long. They were giving shy smiles as Sterner and local officials welcomed them to town.

"I'd like a chance to just rest for a while," Suber's wife, Rene, acknowledged quietly. Daughters Reeneka, 9, and Renisha, 8, were happy to pose for the local news cameramen, though. The other children in the family are Doretha, 16, Hysendera, 12, and Joshlynn, who is nearly 2.

Suber said he has worked in radio and construction, and the family had been in New Orleans about five years before Hurricane Katrina hit 10 days ago.

"The last time I saw my house, you could just barely see the roof," he said. "We had to get into a neighbor's house to get above the water."

The Subers are still awaiting word on two sons - Orelius, 17, and John, 20. They haven't seen them since they left New Orleans, but are hopeful the young men are well and evacuated elsewhere.

"We believe they're OK," the father said. Suber said his wife's father, Lionel Valentine, also hopes to come to Pueblo.

The Subers were headed for a home on Withers Avenue that has been offered for the relocation project. A growing network of help is building in the Pueblo area to assist evacuees.

The Subers were just the first arrivals Tuesday night. The Home of Heroes project also was bringing several families in by car. Volunteers had spent the day getting donated apartments ready for the tired families.

Sterner said the effort was a network of people who wanted to help and got impatient with the lack of progress being made in getting help to the hurricane victims. Sterner noted that volunteer Todd Clevenger, a Denver businessman, had simply organized a group of vans to go to Houston to find families who needed a home.

"People want to help, but they don't know how," Sterner said. "People like Todd show you how to get things done.

Publish Date Thursday, September 7, 2005
1996-2005 The pueblo Chieftain Online



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