Katrina victim transforms his life in Jackson - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Katrina victim transforms his life in Jackson

By Cheryl Lasseter - bio|email|twitter

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - On the day Hurricane Katrina hit five years ago, Bernard Grant was working in food service at the V.A. Hospital in New Orleans. He stayed for the storm, helping in the hospital any way he could.

"We had a parking garage. You could go on the third tier of the parking garage. For me, the sight was horrible. I saw parents try to rescue their children, walking in (neck deep) water, trying to transfer their children, get to the Super Dome," he says.

After several days, Grant, who had been living alone, had to go where the patients had gone: The Sonny Montgomery V.A. Hospital in Jackson.

"The Department of Veterans Affairs made preparations for all the workers who were there, they brought us to Jackson," Grant says. "We stayed on the fourth floor, then after that they moved us to the Cabot Lodge. I stayed at the Cabot Lodge for almost eight months."

While working in Jackson, Grant heard about programs offered at Jackson State University. At age 51, he received his bachelors degree. At age 54, he received his masters degree.

"New Orleans was still in transition," he says. "Many of us who wanted to go back, we needed to weigh our options, really get stabled. I said, this is it. Health care, health administration is something I'd really want to do."

Today, he's an administrative resident in the office of the director of the hospital, and he plans to keep moving upward in his career.

Five years ago, Grant never dreamed he'd make such a dramatic change in the quality of his life. "I think the circumstances of the storm catapulted me to making that decision. This is now or never," he says. "It's because of God watching over me. I know he put me in the (right) place at the right time. I'm sorry it had to be a disaster. Sometimes these things can change our lives."

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