For the people of the Gulf Coast, a value cannot be placed on the work of the many volunteers who came in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and helped communities piece themselves back together. Stories of how the people of Alabama have helped the people of Mississippi get back on their feet abound.
Selfless volunteers sacrificed their time to help those left with nothing. There is still a lot of work that needs to be done. Debris is still scattered everywhere and many are still without homes.
Ed Murphy, pastor of Shoreline Baptist Church, is still holding Sunday services out of a tent. "We're struggling almost daily," says the minister.
Shoreline Baptist Church members are not only working to restore their church, but also to rebuild the community.
"Because the FEMA trailers are so small, no one has a place to store anything. So we came up with the idea of building some storage pods," says Murphy.
In the weeks following the storm, the work seemed overwhelming. No life was left untouched by the storm.
Pastor Murphy says, "I knew we weren't going to be able to do it alone." And the Mississippi congregation did not have to go it alone. Montgomery's First Baptist Church stepped in to help in the rebuilding effort.
Immediately after the storm, First Baptist sent a crew down to help."They set up the seed of this camp. They built me an office," remembers Murphy.
The church also brought down trailers. Each trailer has three full bathrooms. A luxury along the coast after the storm. "They actually built them in Montgomery and brought them down."
Week after week the church sent one crew after another. The crews worked long days and their work help lift the spirits of a community. The Montgomery teams slept in tents at night, and shoveled mud out of homes during the day.
A thankful Murphy says, "There is just a bond that has been built here that's helped uplift the community, their spirit and their psyche...There is no way to value just having a partner."
Out of Katrina came a bond between strangers who are now friends. A bond that can't be broken. "Staff and the members of the First Baptist Church of Montgomery have just been truly uplifting," continues Murphy.
The Shoreline Baptist Church congregation hopes to be back in their sanctuary in April. Montgomery's First Baptist Church plans to send a crew back to Bay St. Louis around that time.