Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Hurricane Gustav

Three years ago the Alabama Governor and the Chancellor of the two-year college system decided to open all campus' as Red Cross Disaster Relief shelters for bused in evacuees. We were lucky enough to make it through two years without being activated, however that all changed this past weekend. I and many of my coworkers spent the past few weeks and days meeting, going over our plan of action, organizing the distribution of FEMA supplies and dismantling the building my office is housed in. It was our understanding that we were a tier one shelter, which means we fill up first. We also understood that we were to accept bused evacuees only...no drive-ins. The campus was put on alert Monday of last week and officially activated as a shelter Saturday evening.

As I said in my previous post, my friend Spring was visiting from Gainesville, FL and we were going to spend the weekend in Auburn. I asked on more than one occasion if I should cancel my plans in regards to the possibility of being called for shelter duty. My answer was 'no'. Saturday night after the game I was in the shower, Jeff walked in and said, "Um dear..." (I knew I was in trouble with that opening) "I have a voicemail on my cell from your boss that says you need to report to the shelter at 7am tomorrow morning." I didn't believe him (you all know how much I was looking forward to said shelter duty) until I listened to the message myself. After some discussion and deliberation we decided it would be best to go home that night instead of early the next morning. My dear sweet friend agreed to drive me home (Jeff needed to stay in AU to put things up in the RV from tailgating). We didn't arrive until 12:30 and I didn't get in the bed until 1:00am - that equals five hours of sleep for me. Nonetheless, the next morning I headed to the shelter as Spring & Avery headed home :c(

Long story short, we worked our tails off getting this place transformed into a shelter and then waited for evacuees to arrive. Waited, and waited, and waited and waited... We had 24 drive-ins that registered but they never returned. I believe they had a family member living in our town and opted to stay with them. From that point on not another soul walked through the doors. However, we were required to remain open as someone kept calling saying we were about to get the overflow from other shelters. At one point we were told 4,000 people were coming and still we sat and waited. Nothing. I finally went home at 4:00 Sunday afternoon, e.x.h.a.u.s.t.e.d and prepared to report Monday morning at 7:00am, which I did. I could barely move I was so tired. I was expecting this place to be buzzing with people and still no evacuees. Somehow wires got crossed up BIG TIME between the Governor's office, Red Cross and the Chancellor's office and it turned out to be the most exhausting slumber party I've been to. I did get to go home yesterday around 1:00 and the shelter was closed at 3:00. Today is business as usual.....that is until Hannah, then Ike make up their minds. *Yawn*

Here is a link to yours truly on the news. I am in the grey sweatshirt talking with my hands while watching Gustav come ashore. Yes, a very proud moment for me *insert rolling eyes*. In the clip you can see the cots I was responsible for numbering, all 128 of them (and to think we were approved by the Red Cross to house 500 people.)