When victims of Hurricane Katrina were looking for relief, they saw Damon Davis. Two weeks ago, Mr. Davis sat in the Bi-Lo parking lot and collected donations of non-perishable items. Last Tuesday, he drove his truck pulling a trailer laden with bottled water, diapers, and canned goods to Pass Christian, Miss.
"They told me I was the first fresh water that they had seen down there," Mr. Davis said. "You can't buy water for an 80-mile radius of there, even as far as Meridian, Miss. That's how bad it was. The big thing was water."
Mr. Davis said the National Guard took him on a tour of the area, and showed him the locations where the most fatalities were. Mr. Davis said the Guard was bringing in dogs to assist in the search for bodies not accounted for.
"It was rough, there're no words to describe it. What you see on the television and hear on the radio, then multiply that 100 times, and you'll be getting close then. It was unreal," Mr. Davis said.
Soon after he arrived, Mr. Davis said FEMA also came, and will keep the victims and rescuers supplied with fresh water and ice "as long as it takes." While there, Mr. Davis met a lieutenant of the Pass Christian fire department who told him "everybody thinks it stays warm down there on the coast, but it does get cold down there, too. They are going to need blankets and cots and pillows and things real soon."
Mr. Davis plans to set up another relief collection before the end of the month, and return to Mississippi. He hopes to take blankets. Mr. Davis said monetary donations will also be helpful, as the banks have been washed away.
"The most minute trivial help is better than nothing at all. They have nothing, I mean big black letters, nothing," he said. "...They're going to need other things, all the things we take for granted."
Mr. Davis also provided relief to victims of Hurricane Hugo, and said Hugo "was a thunderstorm compared to Katrina." Mr. Davis recently lost his job at Thomson Oak Flooring, when he saw the devastation left by the hurricane on television, and decided he needed to do something to help. He encourages churches and civic groups to get involved by organizing relief efforts.
"Anybody that's doing anything, they can use it. It's not something that's going to be over in 4-6 weeks, it's going to be there for months and months to come," he said.
For more information, contact Mr. Davis at (706)799-6413.