Monday, May 2, 2011


From John O'Donnell, Emergency Services Response Specialist

We finally arrived and spent the night in Clinton, MS. Got to the job headquarters this morning, where we met up with (Red Cross Volunteer) Carole, and they then sent us to Ackerman, which is about 2 hours northeast of where we spent the night. We arrived at the Baptist church where the Baptist Men had their feeding kitchen set up. There was a lot of confusion about where the shelter was located, but we eventually found it in a town 15 minutes north of Ackerman. The towns in this area are crazy small. Ackerman doesn't even have a stoplight. We stopped by the police station and there was a note on the door saying the officer (officer, singular) was on a call. Totally new world down here.

We're getting pretty close to Alabama. There's been a lot of driving and searching today. We have seen a lot of trees down but no structural damage yet. I reckon (the South is rubbing off on me) that once we head north, we'll start seeing the more severe damage. 

Lots of southern accents and fried food so far. Also, saw my first wild turkey and almost ran it over by accident.

Editor's Note: John recently moved to Austin from Chicago, where he also worked for the Red Cross.  This deployment marks his first experience visiting the deep South.  

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