This Thanksgiving is very special. For Hurricane Katrina has taught me the things to be truly grateful for. First and foremost is my son. I was so worried about him during the storm. He had stayed with his Dad and by some miracle, his Dad's phone was one of the two I could call after the storm had passed and was able to learn everything was okay and hear his voice. He said he had been trying to reach me during the storm. After that, I had no dial tone for two days and my cell phone wouldn't work either.
I am thankful that all members of my family were safe and we survived the storm in the shelter of my sister Debbies' house. I am thankful that my house suffered no damage.
I am thankful that all of the people I know in Mississippi and Louisiana survived. Many lost all, their businesses and their homes, but none died.
I am thankful that even though Gollott's Seafood lost its plant, its offices, and all its seafood inventory, my bosses have made the decision to rebuild and that we are in the process of rebuilding and I can continue to work even though the hours are reduced.
I am thankful that I always had running water which made going without power for 12 days bearable. Even though it was under a boil water notice, it made such things as taking showers and flushing toilets possible.
I am thankful for the power crews that came from all over the United States and Canada and restored power almost a month ahead of schedule.
I am thankful for the telephone crews that are still working so very hard to restore phone service. Most of the phone lines are underground and this actually makes repairing the phone network that much more difficult.
I am thankful for the policemen and firemen of the cities of Gulfport, Biloxi, D'Iberville, and all the other cities along the Mississippi Gulf Coast that stayed on duty even when they didn't know the status of their families and many learned that their homes had been destroyed.
I am thankful for all the policemen and firemen from across the United States who came and helped.
I am thankful for FEMA who had water and ice on the Coast within three days of the storm.
I am thankful for the National Guard Units from across the country who also have helped out.
I am thankful to Keesler Air Force Base and the Naval Construction Battalion Center who provided technical advice to help restore water and sewage utilities and repaired schools, cleared roads, and are still building temporary shelters in towns like Pass Christian and Waveland.
I am thankful that the government leaders of the Coastal cities, the State of Mississippi and the Federal government implemented plans in a timely manner that saved many lives and provided food and tarps for damaged roofs.
I am thankful for the generous outpouring of my fellow Americans and am humbled.
I am thankful for the many church groups, the Salvation Army, and the Red Cross who are still down here helping us.
I am thankful to live in the United States of America.
I am thankful to the military men and women who make it possible for us to live in freedom and protect us from harm and I am humbled.
I am thankful to be alive.