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Hurricane Katrina

Still Rebuilding, Seven Years After Katrina
St Bernard Project

I had originally written a story about post-Katrina New Orleans to be posted on the anniversary of the storm. But, like everyone from the Crescent City, my plans were delayed by Isaac. Now that the most recent storm has passed, I think it is even more apropos to focus on people who refuse to let their city wash away.

I had never heard of the St. Bernard Project (SBP) before the day I arrived at a home full of UPSers hanging drywall and rolling paint. It was Global Volunteer Month five years after hurricane Katrina, and my first time back to New Orleans since the devastation. I remember how shocked I was to see neighborhoods still abandoned and houses still marked with spray paint from the search and rescue teams.

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UPSers Provide On-Demand Relief in Wake of Hurricane Isaac
Ray Waguespack, UPS LAT Coordinator, supports restoration operations in Gulf Coast

Tuesday night, August 28, exactly seven years to the day after Hurricane Katrina flooded New Orleans and battered a broad swath of the Gulf Coast, Hurricane Isaac crawled ashore at roughly the same spot.

Ray Waguespack, UPS Logistics Action Team coordinator in Louisiana, began serious emergency management preparations as soon as Isaac rounded the Florida Keys as a tropical storm and headed north, gathering strength over warm Gulf of Mexico waters.

Coordinating with authorities, Ray oversaw preparatory efforts, he says, by “a whole handful of UPS drivers,” along with Tulane University volunteers for the American Red Cross of Southeast Louisiana, UPS Freight personnel, and other volunteers.

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Hope, Help, Homes: Restoring St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana

UPS Global Volunteer Month five years after Katrina

Thanksgiving has always been a day for me to reflect on the good fortune in my life. I am often reminded on this holiday that the things I cherish the most are often those I did not seek or expect.

As we drove through the neighborhoods of New Orleans on the way to St. Bernard Parish last month, I was in awe of the resilience of the people in the city. Recovering from disaster requires resources like tools or money; but without belief, determination, or spirit most would find little success.

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Five Years Later – Remembering My Time in the Wake of Hurricane Katrina

Delayed due to Hurricane KatrinaWhen Katrina hit, like many people, I was deeply affected by what was going on there. Although I live in Atlanta and work at the UPS Corporate office, I felt like I needed to do something. So when I received an e-mail asking for volunteers to reopen the New Orleans package facility, I jumped at the opportunity. I left the day after Thanksgiving, about two months after the storm.

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Beyond Katrina: Saluting The Spirit of UPS People

In early October of 2005, I went to New Orleans, just five weeks after Hurricane Katrina, to document the stories of the UPSers who were working so hard to get their lives and UPS’s business up and running again. I witnessed many images that will stick with me….the mountainous piles of debris on every corner….the black hearses parked in a grassy median (apparently in an attempt to avoid the flooding), all lined up and pointing directly to the Superdome and its partially destroyed roof. And the images of UPSers faces … people hurting, struggling, but fighting to regain their lives. In the six days I spent in New Orleans, I learned a great deal about our company and our people. I hope the video that resulted from my trip, Beyond Katrina: Saluting The Spirit of UPS People, adequately captured the heart and soul of what makes UPS people great.

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Trip to New Orleans was Not so “Easy” – UPS Volunteers Help Move a Family Home

The UPS 2010 United Way campaign began earlier this month. I traveled to New Orleans this past weekend to support a special United Way volunteer event —  kicking off the New Orleans area campaign and helping a very special family return home.  

This year’s campaign is pretty exciting; within days UPS will reach $1 billion in contributions during a 28-year partnership with United Way. But, in true UPS fashion, the giving doesn’t stop with funding. UPS employees across the country volunteered 1.2 million hours in 2009 and are on track to do more of the same this year.

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