Dec. 4 , 2006

More relief trips set for coast

By Kristen Miller
Staff Writer

Although the cleanup stage is done for the residents of Waveland and Bay St. Louis, Miss., the rebuilding process has just begun and Al Nagel of Dassel wants to collect more hands for the job.

“The need is still great,” Nagel said, who is planning more trips to the coast for January, February and March.

With insurance companies using the fine print to get out of paying claims, residents who have lost everything are not being taken care of, according to Nagel.

Some have received partial payments, which could help with the purchase of materials, but labor costs are much greater, according to Nagel.

The big need is rebuilding homes including new roofs, framing, Sheet rock, taping and insulating.

“There is a great need for skilled laborers, but skilled or not, anyone with a willing heart, there is work to be done,” he said.

Just down the road from Waveland in Covington, La., where Pastor Ralph Erickson has been working from, he still gets requests to gut houses, he said.

“There are still a lot of homes that need to be put back together,” Erickson said.

Erickson works as part of the Urban Impact Mission, which helps rebuild homes and lives in inner city New Orleans.

Along with this comes programs to help families and individuals get their lives back together, Erickson said.

Urban Imapact Mission is a program that is “proactive in helping families be families,” he said, by providing after-school programs for youth, managing money, and life skills.

The project’s goal is to provide 30 homes in 30 days, whether rebuilding homes like Habitat for Humanity or getting them back into their homes, Erickson said.

“There is work here for years as long as there are people willing to help,” he said.

‘People think it should be done by now, but with a half million homes destroyed in just New Orleans. . . How do you remodel a city in a year? You can’t even remodel a house in a year,” Erickson said.

He would enjoy the company of residents from the DC community. “For me, it would be fun to have DC people here,” Erickson said.

Nagel is amazed at how many individuals, churches, and businesses are still contributing and continue to give to the Katrina relief effort.

He recently received 50 quilts from Dassel Covenant Church, filling six totes.

“It’s cool to see people haven’t forgotten,” he said.

The upcoming trips are planned for Jan. 12-21, Feb. 17-25, and March 17-25. There are three camps that are possible, including Camp Katrina in Waveland/Bay St. Louis, Laurel, Miss., and Camp Covington near New Orleans where Erickson is stationed.

The cost has increased since previous trips from $250 to $400, but includes transportation and room and board. Nagel recommended donating sponsorship dollars to allow for someone else to go if that person is unable.

“But, we are going to try to not limit anyone if they want to go,” he said.

Nagel is also accepting monetary donations and Visa or Lowes gift cards for the purchase of building materials.

Anyone interested in learning more about the trip can contact Al Nagel at (320) 296-1521. Anyone interested in signing up for any of the upcoming trips can call Amanda at Holt Tour and Charter at (320) 286-5315.

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