Four area residents lend helping hand to hurricane relief efforts in Mississippi

Jerry Mueller and Erin Wetteroff from Queen of All Saints in Oakville and friends Dale Green and Ron Kardell of west county recently returned from Pass Christian, Miss., where they worked as part of a Catholic Charities Long-Term Disaster Recovery Team in the Biloxi Diocese.

The devastation was much greater than they expected, according to a news release.

The entire 125-mile gulf shoreline of Mississippi suffered severe damage and destruction. Nearly all the beach properties, including the many historic mansions of Biloxi and Gulfport, are gone. The depth of the area affected goes from a few blocks from the beach to many miles inland, the news release stated.

Their base of operations was the Dedeaux Retreat House at Sacred Heart Church.

Lodging, meals, tools and safety equipment were provided.

Their team worked five days in a home in Bay St. Louis, replacing 70 sheets of drywall and replacing much of the damaged exterior.

Other teams gutted homes, drywalled, roofed and made various repairs. Several of the women worked at the Catholic Charities Office providing client services.

Much work remains, and some estimate the recovery could take up to 10 years.

Groups or individuals wishing to offer assistance may call the Biloxi Diocese at (228) 897-2280.