Volunteers remember Katrina five years later

By Brian Entin - bio | email

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - For those in the Coastal Empire who went to the Gulf Coast to help after Hurricane Katrina, the disaster is still fresh in their minds.

Area volunteers say it may be five years later, but it still feels like yesterday.

"It really impacts your life. You never really look at life the same after you go through that," Reba Van Meter said.

Van Meter organized a relief effort in Claxton, Georgia shortly after the hurricane hit. The entire town came together and sent eleven truckloads of food and other supplies to the small fishing village of D'Iberville.

"We have to realize this could happen to us. We could be the next ones. And while we were so fortunate, we needed to share and take care of those people," she said.

Photographer Lewis Levine went to Gulfport and New Orleans days after Katrina hit.

He documented the devastation and also delivered canned goods and dog food.

"I quite honestly have never witnessed any natural disaster like that. I hope we never witness anything like that again," Levine said.

Coastal Empire volunteers who put their lives on hold to help after Katrina say they have no regrets. And even today, there is still an outpouring of thanks.

"They said that Claxton will always be embedded in their heart. And not to worry if anything ever happens here. D'Iberville would be the first ones here to take care of us," Van Meter said.

She says she would help out again in a heartbeat if another disaster occurred.

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