Community Service Center

Alternative Spring Break:
Port Charlotte, FL '06

After starting our first annual Biloxi Boomerang, we knew we were hooked! When the call came from Lutheran Disaster Response for colleges and universities to commit to spending their breaks in the Guld Coast, we knew we had a dedicated, skilled and enthusiastic team ready to work. We did not, however, expect to be called to Port Charlotte, Florida! Our team assembled, we booked tickets, held meetings, and headed down to the Gulf Coast to work on homes damaged not by the recent storm Katrina, but by the already-forgotten storms of Rita and Charlie.

Our team set up camp in a gracious local church, where we were very well taken-care of by our hosts... and we prepared to venture into the heat to work on the homes of local residents. They eagerly awaited having their homes completed after waiting over a year and a half after the storms wreaked their havoc. We were touched by the spirit and the heart of the residents as many of them worked alongside us to rebuild their homes, ready to move on with life.

CLU was the only school that came to Florida in the end, after the other schools assigned there unfortunately did not join us for various reasons. Hopefully it provided us all with the reminder that after the media images are gone and the focus moves elsewhere, there are people in a disaster area left behind trying to pick up the pieces and move on, even if no one is still there to tell their story and speak on their behalf.