PTS Students Aid Katrina Victims
February 16, 2010 -
Five Palmer Theological Seminary students devoted a week of their recent semester break to helping victims of Hurricane Katrina, who, five years later, are still in the process of rebuilding their homes and their lives. Students Marquita Bell, Bob Gross, Genikwa Williams, Enoh Francis, and Wendy Simcoe worked to refurbish houses in the New Orleans’ Lower 9th Ward, which was one of the city’s hardest hit areas and has been one of the slowest to recover. The trip was sponsored by the National Ministries division of the Valley Forge-based American Baptist Churches.
Among the chores assigned to the PTS group were painting, removing water-damaged wood, and replacing old siding with new. PTS admissions officer Alexander Houston, who accompanied the students, spent the whole week working on the house of a man who’s been living in a FEMA trailer for the past five years, since Katrina. “You could see areas where a lot has been done,” said Houston. “But you could also see that there’s a lot more to do.”
The Palmer contingent stayed at Camp Restore, a place for volunteer workers sponsored by the Lutheran Church. Said Houston, “Our students were glad for the opportunity to put their faith and their learning into action. Seminary is not just about academic knowledge. It’s about service, too.”
According to Houston, the people among whom the group worked showed a special sensitivity for victims of the earthquake in Haiti: “No one can feel more for the people of Haiti than the people of New Orleans,” said Houston, adding that, though the road has been long and the end is far from sight, “people still cling to their faith that God will see them through.”