Couple escapes Katrina, finds South Georgia - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Couple escapes Katrina, finds South Georgia

August 29, 2007

Albany--  You don't have to remind two South Georgia Katrina evacuees about recovery. They've thought about it pretty much every day for the past two years.

Johnny and Sylvia Dorsey evacuated the Mississippi coast one day before the devastating storm hit. They lived in a hotel for months but now they have a new home and fulfilling jobs in south Georgia.

Some quick afternoon showers fell in Albany on the 2nd anniversary of Katrina. It wasn't enough to overpower the work at Turner Job Corps. That's where Johnny Dorsey teaches.

"They hired me as a Facility Maintenance Instructor," said Dorsey.

He watches as students make loud cuts through wood. Ironically, it was other loud noises and water of another kind that brought him here. "Katrina hit the Gulf Coast area," said Dorsey.

He and his wife Sylvia lost everything in Gulfport, Mississippi. "Our sons called and said Mom and Dad it doesn't make sense to come back home because you don't have a place to live," said Dorsey.

"We were on edge. We were in a hotel and we were watching with tears streaming down our faces," said Sylvia.

They found strength together. Sylvia now also works at Turner Job Corps administering tests for new students. At the same time, she also continues to share stories and pictures. "I try to show them what it looked like," said Dorsey.

Recently six of those students saw the devastation up close. The Dorseys returned to the coast with the students on a mission to help restore homes in the area. "I was just shocked to see all the homes torn down and like nothing on the coastline," said Turner Job Corps student Nathaniel Cotton.

"I feel sympathy for the people that stayed there and people lost their businesses and stuff like that," said student Jeffery Whitt.

They spent days painting and landscaping homes. At the same time, the Dorseys continue to wait for their own Gulfport home to get back to normal.

"I said this morning to Mr. Dorsey, think two years ago. Who would have thought that we would still be away from our home," said Sylvia. They have faith they'll get back there.

"We're going to move back eventually," said Johnny.

"Hopefully one day, not right now but we will. We hope to go back," said Sylvia.

For right now they're thankful for a second home to live in and a place to work. It reminds them that the rain and rebuilding isn't so bad.

The Dorseys live in Americus in a home dedicated by Habitat for Humanity. They've been traveling back and forth to Mississippi to rebuild their home there.

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