Revised with additional pictures, 4/8/06 LS.


On February 19th Marion Taylor McClarin, '58    wrote this letter to Ellen (Lutter) Petersen, '60.  It's a good tale and an even better reminder of help still needed.  Enjoy!


Katrina Relief Continuing. Help Still Needed.

It was late in June of 1972 when Hurricane Agnes pounded the town where my husband, myself, and our three children were living in Southwestern New York State. Our home was inundated with the resulting flood waters up to its rafters. Throughout the next eight months a constant procession of friends, old and new, helped us put our life and home back together.

Now, fast-forward to 2005 when Hurricane Katrina devastated the entire Gulf Coast, doing far more damage than we had received 33 years earlier. We had mission partners at a church in Slidell, Louisiana, one of the hard-hit areas, and it was time for us to "pay it forward."  After a preliminary trip from New York in early September to deliver immediately-needed supplies, my husband and I offered to help organize the volunteer facility the church was planning to operate. (We are trained in Disaster Relief for the Red Cross but had not been called up
for this one.)

So, in October we closed up our house, hooked up our RV and headed south to Peace Lutheran Church in Slidell, La. Now, some five months later, we are still here. As volunteers we have done everything from mucking out houses and hanging sheetrock in the community to cooking meals, cleaning bathrooms, and repairing chain saws at the church.

Marion & husband, "Mucking out" a house

The second floor of this church, the former Sunday school, has evolved into a dormitory with 40 beds for volunteers. Outside, the 15 space, Dove of Peace RV Park has been created. We have hosted over 600 wonderful people from 15 different states who have come to help others rebuild their homes and their lives. The volunteer presence here is definitely what is moving the recovery effort along.

At this time last year we were on a two month RV tour of the land down-under, New Zealand and Australia. This winter is not only a complete reversal of location but also a complete reversal of everything that was familiar and  predictable in our lives. Each day here is a new adventure, helping and serving others...and we are the ones who are richer for it. 

Marion & husband, "Down Under"

Recently, we sold our home in western New York and in the spring we will leave here to begin a new life at The Villages, in central Florida. Volunteer workers, however, will be needed in this area for a least two more years. If you would be interested in learning more about this venture please contact me at I'd love to hear from you.

Marion Taylor McClarin '58