10 years ago I traveled to Picayune Mississippi to serve others and it changed me forever. I was 32, 2 years out of graduate school, a new father, and still finding my place in the community. This was my first relief trip. Hurricane Katrina had hit the gulf coast and the devastation was overwhelming. I needed to do something – I had never used a chainsaw or cut trees down – but I was willing and eager to help.
Riding down with the “Cadillac Chainsaw crew” was surreal. I ended up working in the kitchen for most of my time there since the Red Cross relief trailers pulled out for another disaster just days after we arrived. I was the only person there that had experience in a commercial kitchen and we needed someone to cook for over a hundred people each day. It is not how I planned to serve, but it was a skill I could provide for the other relief workers. This is where I learned that you give where you are needed. I learned the value of teamwork. I learned the importance of a power nap from Tom. I learned that a small group of dedicated individuals can make a difference. I learned the power of gratitude from those we served. I learned that those serving get more out of the effort than those served.