By JEFFREY POWELL
The First Baptist Church of DeFuniak Springs was the temporary home for 47 New Orleans and Mississippi Gulf Coast residents fleeing the wrath of Hurricane Gustav. The church received a call Sunday morning requesting help from the evacuees and the first visitors arrived that evening.
“This was a real blessing to have the people here,” said Minister of Students Daniel Johnson. “Their positive attitude and desire to help around the church was great. We were ready to help them and they wanted to help us.”
According to Johnson, the Red Cross spearheaded the efforts to feed and care for the evacuees. The organization provided cots and blankets along with preparing meals. E-mail access was also provided so that the visitors could stay in touch with loved ones concerned for their safety. One evening a barbecue meal was catered by Sonny’s restaurant. The evacuees left DeFuniak Springs Tuesday morning after breakfast to a shelter closer to home in Pensacola. Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) volunteers assisted the Red Cross.
“This was a humbling experience,” Johnson added.