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Thursday, October 27, 2005

Caribbean Mercy hosts Relief Team from Tyler, Texas

This article is from a local TV story by Molly Reuter, reporting on KLTV
Mercy Ships is doing it's part to help in the hurricane relief effort. It's Caribbean Mercy ship is down in Mobile, Alabama housing volunteers working in the disaster areas, and the ship was just at the right place at the right time.

Jerry, Sam, Craig and Jeff are a diverse group of guys. One's a judge, the other a construction worker, but they all had the same goal, to get to the Gulf Coast.

"We were trying to go down to New Orleans because there was just so much media on New Orleans and our hearts were just breaking for these people," said Craig Carter, volunteer. "We tried for like two weeks, but the door just kept getting closed." But as they always say, when one door closes another one opens.

"One of the guys in the group called me and said Mercy Ships is looking for a team from Tyler, so we jumped right on it," said Carter. Mercy Ships docked their Caribbean Mercy ship in Mobile, Alabama last January for repairs. That's where it was when Hurricane Katrina came rushing in.

"We evacuated the crew and it was actually eleven days after the hurricane came that the water subsided," said Ciaran Holden, Chief Engineer of Caribbean Mercy ship. When it did, the ship's crew saw an opportunity to help.

"It was ideal because on board the ship we have a lot of diesel on board, so we can generate our own electricity and we have fresh water," said Holden. "We could use the Caribean Mercy more or less immediately to house relief teams coming into the area." The crew from Tyler took advantage of that option.

"The beds were comfortable and we had hot water and the meals were good at night," said Sam Griffith.

"Ships are built for shorter people," said Carter. "We bumped our heads a few times and I have no padding, so we had a few knocks." It's not the living conditions they say they will remember the most. It's the time spent cutting trees and building houses for those that needed help.

"You go down there to help people, but you come away like they helped you," said Carter. "They just made your life better through the experience." Now these four guys are not done helping. They say they are planning to go to Beaumont and Port Arthur in a few weeks to help those affected by Hurricane Rita.

Molly Reuter, reporting.

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