Biloxi Family Lost Everything, Staying with Savannah Relatives - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

09/01/05

Biloxi Family Lost Everything, Staying with Savannah Relatives

One family from Biloxi, Mississippi, decided to stay with family after being driven out by Hurricane Katrina. They drove to Savannah yesterday after they learned they had nothing left back home. That's just the beginning of the family's problems.

Diane Hayes' husband is in the Air Force. He's stationed in Korea. He didn't know about Hurricane Katrina until after it hit. Now she's trying to rebuild her life with her two children, and she could use this community's support.

Hayes and her kids are surrounded by love and laughter. Her mom, Kathy Barnwell, and her aunts in Savannah are trying to help them get back on their feet.

Hurricane Katrina destroyed Hayes' home on Keesler Air Force base in Biloxi. "Everything is gone, my car, our clothes her equipment, everything," she said.

Her three-year-old daughter Kiera has cerebral palsy and her son Kion is only 11 months old. To make matters worse, her husband is still overseas. "It's been rough, and this made it even rougher."

She's only been able to talk to him twice since the hurricane hit. "We are trying to see if he can come home to help us get settled."

But that may not be until October, when they are allowed to return to their home.

Hayes' best friend Lajuan Dickson evacuated to Savannah with her. Her Mississippi home was wiped out too, so was the bridge that leads there. "The Barnwell family has taken me in, treated me like family and I love them for it," she told us.

They hope the love of this family will help them through this horrible disaster.

If you would like to help this family, you can call Kathy or Diane at 352-9877. To help other hurricane victims, call the Red Cross at 1-800-HELP-NOW.

Reported by: Michelle Paynter, mpaynter@wtoc.com

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