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A First-Hand Look at Katrina’s Devastation
Barney students Gil Rogers (second from left) and Brian Cutino (far right) helped clean up hurricane damage in Waveland, Miss., during the winter break. They were joined by fellow Eagle Scouts Justin Abshire (far left) and Daniel O’Rourke (third from left).
Rogers, Cutino, Abshire, and O'Rourke helped a Waveland resident named Amber clean up her property. This is what remains of Amber's house.
Brian Cutino, a junior in the Barney School of Business and a resident assistant in E-Complex, and Gil Rogers ’05, a student in the Barney MBA program who works as a graduate assistant in the Office of Admission, spent Jan. 5-11 volunteering to help clean up and rebuild the small Gulf Coast town, which was virtually destroyed by the hurricane. They were joined by Daniel O’Rourke of Stonehill College in Easton, Mass. The three friends are Eagle Scouts and learned about the dire situation in Waveland through the Boy Scouts of America’s National Honor Society.
“With no exaggeration, it was as if the hurricane hit last week down there,” Cutino wrote in an email about his experiences in Waveland.
“Blocks of houses are simply destroyed. While the sun still rises and sets with beauty along the Gulf, the foreground of my memory shows scrap metal and destroyed homes,” Cutino wrote. “Where a small city of comfort and beauty once stood, it is only replaced by vacant cement foundations and piles of a lifetime’s worth of possessions.”
Cutino, Rogers, and O’Rourke felt that they made a difference in Waveland, but a tremendous amount of work remains to be done, Cutino said. The three friends hope to return to Waveland in the near future, and Cutino urged others to volunteer their services on the Gulf Coast as well.
Most people associate Hurricane Katrina with New Orleans, but many other areas that were equally hard hit have not received as much attention, he said.
“The bottom line is Waveland can use more volunteers,” Cutino said. “Planning to assist the city of Waveland is not as difficult as you would imagine. It takes dedication, but can have a lasting impact.
“More than anything else, we brought greater hope to the community.”
Cutino, Rogers, and O’Rourke started “The Waveland Fund,” to help cover their expenses for the recent trip to Waveland and for future trips to the Gulf Coast. To read first-hand accounts of their trip, and to find out how you can help, visit www.savewaveland.org.