Home Of Heroes
Katrina Relocation Program

 

The multitude of Americans who have suffered from the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina leaves the individual feeling helpless. Last week I was reminded of Mother Theresa's perspective on such matters when she said: "If you can't feed 100 then feed just one." She also noted: "Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time, and always start with the person nearest you."

Four days after Katrina hit the Gulf region, I floated the idea before local Pueblo leaders to do just that--help JUST ONE. Pam's favorite quote states, "You may be one person in the world, but to one person, you may BE THE WORLD." Thus was born the idea that the city of Pueblo, just one of the thousands of communities in our nation, would concentrate on helping ONE family. The idea was to rent a vacant house for six months, completely furnish it to include groceries, bedding, toiletries, phone service, cable TV, and even a computer with internet access. On Friday (September 2) The Pueblo Chieftain announced the project (see News story links below).

Within 48 hours an incredible team began working together to find homes--not simply shelter--for Katrina survivors. Todd Clevenger took it upon himself to drive to Louisiana in search of families needing help, while I worked to team him with Retired Special Forces Captain Robert Noe and his wife Kathy who were working in their hometown of Alexandria. Joining the team was student pilot Cullen Canazares and his wife Christina who began arranging flights from shelters in Louisiana and Texas to homes around the Country.

Working with Suzanne Pressley in Houston, and teaming with Cullen, arrangements were made to fly one family into Pueblo to that first home on Tuesday, the same day the Chieftain reported on progress to prepare that first home.

Meanwhile, when Todd connected with the Noes in Louisiana, the project ballooned and a convoy departed over the weekend for Colorado. Todd promptly notified us that he was bringing eleven families. A series of quick phone calls brought online the needed housing.

The family from Houston arrived in Pueblo early on Tuesday evening where they were greeted by Pueblo officials, medical personnel, and then settled into their new home.  Even as they were walking through the door of their fully furnished home, Todd was making a brief stop in neighboring La Junta where two families, each a family of six, were settled into fully-furnished, fully-stocked homes. An hour later Todd was in Pueblo, where the two of us who had worked together through countless hours of long distance phone calls over a four-day period, finally met face to face. Four families were greeted, given immediate medical evaluations, and then placed in rent-free/utilities-free homes (also fully-furnished and stocked with food). The remaining families then continued on to Denver where they were settled into homes arranged by Todd's wife Karmen, another of the invaluable members of our team of strangers with but one thing in common, a desire to help others.

The Pueblo homes, donated by local landlords including my good friend and fellow Vietnam Veteran Delbert Schmelling (see his story in Chicken Soup for the Veterans Soul) and Christine Swank (who donated three vacant units of a four-plex), had been fully prepared by scores of local teens under the unbelievable leadership of a 19-year old girl, Andee Ames.

Below are links to some incredible stories of this city-wide effort, accomplished by great teamwork by a group of strangers. Below the news links are updates to continuing programs. (On Friday (September 9, additional convoys departed to pick up our next group of adopted families.

MOST RECENT NEWS CLIP: 


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Sept 2 Pueblo Chieftain Locals offer home to flood refugees
Sept 6 Pueblo Chieftain Home of Heroes effort lends hand take action
Sept 7 Pueblo Chieftain Hurricane survivors find new home in Pueblo
Sept 7 Rocky Mountain News Ready For Crowd (See Section on Todd Clevenger)
Sept 10 Pueblo Chieftain Congressman meets evacuees in Pueblo  
Sept 10 Grand Junction Sentinel Colorado hurricane volunteers say red tape is blocking their good intentions
Sept 12 Pueblo Chieftain Men of action - ‘Just do it’ should be slogan of group
Sept 13 Pueblo Chieftain Latest evacuees arrive in Pueblo

Sept 13 Pueblo Chieftain

State Fairgrounds stocking up for evacuees
Sept 14 The Denver Post Evacuees Settle In Across the State

BROADCAST REPORTS To Move your Soul:

Pueblo Woman Gives Home To Katrina Evacuees


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Evacuee Caravan Arrives In Pueblo


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Katrina Evacuees Move Into Pueblo Home

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If Videos Don't Open Automatically - Scroll through List to see Each Story

Hurricane Victims Find New Home in Pueblo


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More evacuees arrive in Southern Colorado


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KATRINA MART
SUPER STORE


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Looking Forward to
White Christmas


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College Opportunities for Katrina Survivors in Pueblo

TEAM WEB SITES (For More Details and Updates)

Colorado 4 Katrina

HomeOfHeroes Relocation Blog

Norm Vaux Website

Contact Doug or Pam Sterner Phone: (719) 564-1755 Email: Doug@HomeOfHeroes.com 

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