Hurricane Katrina

Five to be honored for selfless service

MOSS POINT - Five residents will be honored nationally later this month for relief work they provided as volunteers with their church and Northwest Medical Teams following Hurricane Katrina.

Sharon Smith, Patrice Green, Cathy Reid, Karen Jones and Dorothy Harvey are among 12 women from the South who will be honored during the national Disciples of Christ Women's Quadrennial Assembly, set for June 21-25 in Indianapolis. The United Church of Christ National Women co-sponsors the award.

They are members of First Christian Disciples of Christ Church on Magnolia Street.

Barbara Agnew, public relations specialist for Northwest Medical Teams, said the women would be recognized for outstanding service to their community. "The award is a tribute to their tireless efforts," she said.

Agnew and Smith, a caseworker, said the women were responsible for setting up a medical clinic in Moss Point using volunteer doctors and nurses directly after Katrina hit the Gulf Coast.

They helped with debris removal for more than 25 homes, assisted in the re-roofing of 120 damaged homes, and supervised rebuilding of 150 homes in Moss Point, Pascagoula and Bay St. Louis.

Agnew and the others began work as neighborhood relief volunteers who decided to help until government aid could arrive.

"It was a handful of people. We were giving out supplies by the truckload," said Smith, who added the national Disciples of Christ supplied funds for food, clothing, cleaning materials, construction, and other supplies for several months.

After Northwest Medical came in during mid-September, the medical clinic set up at First Christian and provided free medical care and medications for over 1,000 people, Smith said. The business provided $2 million in medical supplies.

She and the other volunteers became caseworkers after the medical agency decided to establish a permanent site in Moss Point. Northwest Medical Teams are committed to five years in the area.