HJ/EDMay 15, 2006

Katrina Relief continues to raise money

By Kristen Miller
Staff Writer

Volunteers and witnesses of Katrina’s aftermath shared their emotions and personal testimonies at the Minnesota Katrina Relief benefit concert May 7.

Public and volunteers gathered in remembrance and honor of all of those whose helped make the Minnesota Katrina Relief effort possible as well as raise funds for building supplies.

“There was a great turnout and tremendous support,” said Al Nagel, coordinator.

Through the evening’s donations and silent auction, $3,259 was raised for building supplies needed for upcoming trips. Thrivent Financial then matched $800, for a total of $4,059.

Nagel tried to get the whole room standing as he asked those who contributed to the efforts to stand whether it be time, money or prayers.

Al Nagel along with the volunteers of Katrina Relief received a plaque from the mayor of Waveland, Miss.

The plaque read: City of Waveland would like to express our deepest gratitude for all of your dedication and kindness.

Chris Favre, a resident of Waveland, joined the concert and taped it for “Experience the Rock” Internet TV.

His wife, stepdaughter and he shared their stories as they continue to rebuild their hurricane damaged home.

Favre showed video taken during the hurricane. In just minutes a parking lot of vehicles was under water as the 30-foot wave surge came in.

He showed another clip of the aftermath, “That is what Katrina did, this is what Katrina left behind.”

Nagel, along with the organizing committee, hopes people were touched by the event.

The shirt off her back

Volunteer Mary Clark of Cokato sat among a panel to give her testimony of how the relief effort isn’t just about “rebuilding houses, it’s about rebuilding lives.”

Clark shared her story of working with a group of women as they helped rebuild one ladie’s home.

The homeowner stated how she wished she had something to remember the “Minnesota women” by.

Clark, with her four layers of shirts, felt the need to give the woman one of them. One of the shirts had a logo from a women’s ministry with which Clark had been involved. It was originally made so people would ask what the shirt meant. It read, “Bridging the Gap.” Clark looked around and saw dead trees everywhere and remembered that God is life. “That was a God moment for me,” so Clark gave her the shirt off her back.

She then asked the woman if she had any clothes, to which she replied that she didn’t know where they were.

Without knowing exactly what that meant, Clark gave her another shirt off her back that read, “Joy.”

“I felt I needed to give them to her,” Clark said.

Down and Dirty

Jennah Nelson, a senior at Dassel-Cokato High School, spent her spring break getting dirty in Waveland as she helped rebuild homes.

Nelson shared a story of one resident who heard Billy Graham speak in New Orleans after Katrina. Graham explained that because of the hurricane it has provoked a revival of Christians around the country. After the woman heard this, she said the mess Katrina left behind was worth it to know it has brought Christians together in thier faith.

Nelson hopes she can have a similar strong, Christian attitude someday.

Pat Schoephoester suffers from severe back pains, but she didn’t want to let that stop her from helping with the relief effort.

She explained how before going, she made every excuse in the book. “I don’t know anyone. “My back hurts,” but she said God called her to go.

“If he tells you to come, stand up boldly and go,” Schoephoester said.

The evening ended with a silent auction.

Jeff Amundson told his story with a volunteer trip to Covington, La., where he helped rebuild homes damaged from the storm.

He told of one strong woman who said there’s nothing she couldn’t handle as long as she had God, even after all she had lost.

The relief effort has several trips planned throughout the year and is in need of more volunteers.

“It’s exciting to see new people involved,” Nagel said.

Planned youth trip

Crow River Youth For Christ along with Elim Mission and First Baptist churches will be taking area youth on a mission trip for Katrina relief to Laurel, Miss. Saturday, June 17 through Sunday, June 25.

“We want the kids to experience the joy in service,” said Youth Pastor Steve Stahl of First Baptist Church.

Youth, grades ninth through twelfth are welcome to attend and adult supervision is also needed.

Stahl is hoping for one adult per three kids and is expecting the trip to be a group of 30 or 40 all together.

Laurel, Miss. is approximately 90 miles from the Gulf of Mexico and suffered severe wind damage from Hurricane Katrina.

Pastor Joe Holloway from St. Elmo’s Baptist Church in Laurel explained this area has “fallen through the cracks.”

There is still a lot of need in the area since most volunteer groups concentrate along the coast, Stahl explained.

The trip will focus on roofing and painting, more reconstruction of homes rather than rebuilding.

For those wanting to attend, please contact Steve Stahl at (320) 286-2562 or Adam Sarff at Elim Mission Church (320) 286-2662.

The cost of the trip is $250 and includes food, lodging, and travel.

Planned relief trips

For anyone interested in participating in upcoming relief trips, contact Holt Tours (320) 286-5315 or visit the web site, www.mnkatrinarelief.com for dates and information.

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