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Tabor College students see devastation remaining from Hurricane Katrina

Tabor College students learned about the difficulty of rebuilding in an area struck by a natural disaster through reading, discussion, and writing papers, but now they are experiencing it firsthand.

Tabor College students John Frankenfield, Jared Redding, Juli Richardson, Aaron Schmucker, Jera Teselle, J.D. Tippin, Rachel Unger, and Travis Unruh will be in Louisiana and Mississippi until Jan. 29 as they participate in the Disaster Relief and Service Travel Study Tour during the college’s interterm.

The group left Jan. 11 to experience the rebuilding along the Gulf Coast following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and subsequent hurricanes. Karol Hunt — chairwoman of Tabor College’s Division of Education, Social Science, and Applied Arts — leads the group. Hunt has made seven trips to the region, including two trips with previous disaster relief classes.

“The need is still the same for the hurricane survivors, rebuilding or refurbishing their homes,” Hunt said. “The situation does not get much news coverage because the media has moved on.

Obviously the recent earthquake in Haiti is going to be the major news story, and rightly so because immediate survival is at stake.”

Students spent the first week in New Iberia, La., working on new construction and repairing existing structures under the direction of Tabor College alumni Gil and Rhoda Friesen of Mennonite Disaster Service.

In week two, students are refurbishing homes in New Orleans’ Upper Ninth Ward with Samaritan’s Purse.

“These students want to learn from people’s stories on how to respond from disaster,” Hunt said. “They want to give to someone who will never be able to repay them.

“They want to focus on how fortunate they are for what they have. And they also want to learn that it’s OK to ask for help and to allow someone to help them.”

Last modified Jan. 20, 2010

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