Hurricane Katrina

Camp Wilkes rescued

BILOXI - Camp Wilkes received a monumental grant from the Lions Club International Foundation at the Biloxi Lions Club meeting Wednesday.

The Lions have members in 197 countries. They provide immediate and long-term assistance to those in need. The need was never greater than when Hurricane Katrina slammed into Mississippi.

Camp Wilkes was destroyed. Volunteers were quick to respond, and college students came by the hundreds to help. The Seabees worked day and night but the task was insurmountable. Above all, there was not enough money to get the job done.

David Stanovich wrote the grant which included a wish list that needed almost $200,000 to rebuild Camp Wilkes.

The dream came true Wednesday as the Biloxi Lions Club was presented with a check that will rebuild the camp.

The Biloxi Lions have sponsored and cared for Camp Wilkes for generations.

Howard Jenkins, vice president and international director of the Lions, gave the Camp Wilkes directors a check for the full amount, saying they "recognized an opportunity and you brought it to fruition."

The Camp Wilkes directors are Tom Varble, A.J. Stanovich and Jude McDonnel. Lion Club member Judge Sandy Steckler thanked Jenkins for all he did to help secure the grant.

District Governor Judy Gavin spoke at length, praising the accomplishments of the Biloxi Lions and of the Diamondhead Lions.

The grant will be used primarily to rebuild the five buildings that were destroyed, the kitchen and all equipment, 200 beds, and to redo the swimming pool.