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Letters to the Editor

Special thanks to two Gwinnett families who help friends in need

My husband and I evacuated our home in Gulfport, Miss., hours before Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast. We had one suitcase, a 21-year-old cat, enough food for the cat and our clothes, which were dirty when we showed up in Snellville at Mike and Susan Foster's house.

We had weathered the storm at our son's house in Hattiesburg, which is about 65 miles north of the coast. Even there, Katrina was a Category 2 hurricane. The whole area was left without power. We had no running water for the first two days, and when we got some, the pressure was very low and the water was unsafe to drink. Getting gasoline to leave the area was impossible for days. We helped our son and his wife clean their yard and house. We were finally able to buy enough gasoline to leave the state on Thursday; three days after the storm had hit.

Mike and Susan Foster and Debbie and Steve Myers offered us a place to stay, food and clothes. We were able to buy a generator, chainsaw, fans, food, water and other supplies in Atlanta. We spoke to our families on Friday, for the first time since the storm. We weren't sure they had survived until then. We spent two days in Lawrenceville buying supplies, and the Myers even took us to a Braves game. To call those first few days after the storm an emotional roller coaster is an

understatement.

We didn't know what to expect when we got home. We knew that my husband's office was gone. Not destroyed, simply not there anymore. It was an old home that had been built in 1937 and converted into an office in 1984. Anyone who has driven down Highway 90 through Mississippi has seen the beautiful houses that line Beach Boulevard. His office and hundreds of other lovely old homes had been washed away by the enormous storm surge. On Sunday, we started cleaning our own home.

The next Thursday, a strange vehicle pulled into our driveway early in the morning. Steve and Debbie had driven through the night to bring us food, gasoline, bottled water and other supplies. They brought not only enough food for the two of us but also my daughter, my sister and her husband and my mother, who were all staying with us. Steve helped cut trees and clean out our yard.

We so appreciate the food, clothes and the place to stay, but much more than all those things we appreciate the friendship. We appreciate the phone calls, we appreciate the concern, and we appreciate the time.

Katirna has made close friends out of what used to be merely neighbors, but we seldom expect our neighbors to come from as far away as Lawrenceville and Snellville. Just as there are no words to describe the devastation and chaos Katrina brought to our lives, there are no words to describe the gratitude and honor we have in our hearts for the friends that have shown such kindness and support at a time when we really needed it. Thank you doesn't seem like enough, but it is genuinely heartfelt.

Thank you, Steve and Debbie Myers and Mark and Susan Foster.

- George and Paula

Cullinan

Gulfport, Miss.