Devastation and the lack of
services still prevalent in the Katrina hit areas of the south according to
Sandi Ogle said the local people in the hardest hit areas are very upset with FEMA and the Red Cross since the locals have no way of getting to the service area maintained by Red Cross. And everyone says, please don’t send any more clothes.“It’s the biggest mess I’ve ever seen. People who up here who watch it on the news – would never understand how truly bad it is just from the TV.”
“I got down there Sunday and they were throwing away a ton clothes in one of those huge garbage containers filled to the brim with clothes because they got wet and the need for clothes is not important compared to their real needs,” stated Sandi Ogle.
Ogle is a married woman from Walden’s Creek who’s been to the Waveland and Bay St Louis area of Mississippi a total of three times. On each occasion she has come back with more determination and resolve to help those people who are not being helped by FEMA or Red Cross due to their remote locations in relation to the help sites.
Sandi Ogle and her husband Mike left Sevier County pulling a donated U-Haul full of blankets, towels, three tents, an outdoor shower, two Coleman cook stoves, coolers, 1200 pounds of cat and dog food, baby wipes, army cots, five portable radios, batteries and more.
Sandi wants it known that the people affected by Katrina need the basics of survival. Items like cooking utensils, dishes, silverware. “These people don’t have refrigerators, or micro wave ovens or even regular ovens, they basically have nothing,” stated Sandi.
According to Sandi, she received $600 in cash donations which was used to by propane and oil for the Coleman stoves and lanterns plus batteries for the radios.
The third trip began last Saturday evening at 4:00 P.M. and arrived in Waveland, MS at 6:00 A.M. Sunday morning.
When the Ogle’s arrived, everything had pretty much been exactly as it was when she was last there just a week prior.
“The one gathering place with three generators and some supplies, known as Jonathan Davis’ relief shelter, a very small store a few miles away from a FEMA or Red Cross Shelter, has been boycotted by FEMA for not signing the property over to the government,” Sandi said in disgust.
“Jonathan told them ‘We take care of our own’ and so FEMA stopped delivering ice to them because they wouldn’t sign the property over to the government. And Jonathan isn’t charging for anything to the local people – everything is donated – so Jonathan passes it on to the locals.”
Before Ogles went down this last time, Sandi had stopped by Seymour First Baptist Church and New Hope Church of God in Sevierville to inquire what area they were going to take their donations to so there would be no cross-over. “The responses I got were, ‘We go where we are assigned’ from people that I thought would be co-operative in this time of need,” stated Sandi.
In the September 13th edition of both the Seymour Herald and Smoky Mountain Herald accompanying the story about Sandi’s previous trip, was a request for donations of certain items.
“I was pleased with the response I got from the newspaper article and the radio station. I would like to thank my family and friends that donated money and items to help me get help to those unfortunate people. Especially to the folks at Big Lots, my very good friends – Griz and Deb Roonery for keeping my communication network up and running by donating $500 to pay my cell phone bill.,” exclaimed Sandi.
Where is that money going – they were tickled to death to get the $2,000 from FEMA – FEMA was going to deposit the money into their bank but their bank is gone
They want to go back to their homes, where they use to be – I’m going to help those that are going back – not the ones that are going to their friends, family out of the area.
The Ogles got home in nine hours last night. All the way home Sandi told The Herald she was trying to analyze how to help – “Everything was lost to these people – everything in and outside of their homes – all the way up the their attics – FEMA was going to get help eventually – but in the mean time, how are people going to cook – no electricity – can’t cook, no refrigerator – so people need basics not clothes.”
The other concern Sandi had was the items that are taken to the shelters are not the items people are going to need. Most of the evacuees want to get back to their property and what little belongings they may find. They want to rebuild their lives, not set up camp in a refugee site.
“I plan to go back again this coming Friday – Looking to take back the more of the items that they can use. People are eating Meals Ready to Eat (MRA’s) provided by the military,” says Sandi. “All the food comes in one packet and it’s mixed together. Would you want to eat that week after week, so this time, I’m taking down potatoes, beans, etc, items they can cook and eat fresh.”
Sandi wanted to let the readers know that she really appreciate the people that are able to give money as she is able to turn that money into items the evacuees really want, need and can use.
Sandi is a true humanitarian. “Back when the blizzard hit in ‘93 we lost electricity for 11 days – we thought it was the end of the world – no water, no fresh food, no nothing – at least we had our houses, our beds, and basics – plus we could keep things cold – not like in MS,” stated Sandi. “During that blizzard, we got on the tractor and took 2 gallons of milk to a little old lady on S. Delosier Road – we just went down Chapman on the tractor asking people what they needed – it’s just the same now except these people are 1300 miles away and they need everything.
After seeing these people over three weeks Sandi says she would move down there and help people for one year if she could work it out financially.
Things are looking better though. The power company has come along and disconnected the power from each house – because they are getting ready to run new lines ready to turn on the power. That won’t be for a few weeks says Sandi.
“Everyone has told me all my life “Sandy you can’t save the whole world – I’m not trying to say the whole world, but I did help a few lives along the way.”
During our interview, it was mentioned that another hurricane is headed towards the golf. Sandi immediately got large tears in her eyes and was visibly distraught. But it’s not going to keep her from helping all she can. She’s going again and this time it with friends, the Roonery’s. But before they go, they will be at the Big Lots parking lot from 8:00 A.M. til 5:00 P.M. accepting donations.