Gulfport evacuee helps neighbors - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Gulfport evacuee helps neighbors

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September 16, 2005

Lowndes County - Its another week, another trailer full of food and supplies, and another trip to the Gulf Coast for Chuck Severance. "I've driven over 8,000 miles since the hurricane hit," said Severance.

Chuck is from Gulfport Mississippi, but evacuated to Valdosta to stay with family. Two days after Katrina hit, he headed back home to survey the damage, but didn't go empty handed. "If you have to go back, take something with you and give it to the people directly," said Severance.

He's a war veteran, but describes the scene back home worse than any combat zone he's ever seen. "You could just hear babies crying, people screaming in the night, you could smell death in the air," said Severance.

After the first trip, Chuck couldn't just sit back and let his neighbors suffer. He joined forces with friends Marshall and Dana Armstrong of Valdosta, and spearheaded a labor of love for hurricane victims. "It just breaks your heart, like Chuck said, you give until it hurts," said Marshall Armstrong.

With donations from the community, they've helped hundreds of Gulfport residents get the basic necessities they need for survival. This will be Chuck's eighth trip home. "When a woman comes up, puts here arms around you and says thank you for the baby food, formula, whatever, that makes it worth every minute, just once, but its happened at least 80 times," said Severance.

As for Chuck's own house, it was destroyed by the storm. "I haven't had time to sit down and personalize this at all, I've been concerned about helping the people down there," said Severance.

And once he finishes taking care of his neighbors, he'll likely start rebuilding a new life here in South Georgia.

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