*Blog originally written on the trip*
To begin this blog with one big event that happened to me on this trip to Biloxi, Mississippi would be nearly impossible for me, because every moment whether big or small was an experience that I will never forget. So I will begin with the start of my week.
It began long before the amazing slumber party provided by the great Molly Buckley, with all the fundraisers and bonding activities, but that Saturday was the day that it all became extremely real for me. After the flight, we had some awesome bonding activities by the beautiful water outside our cabin. That’s when I knew that we had such an incredible and indescribable group of people on this trip. And these are the people that I have found that this trip will be one that we will never forget. I love each and every one of the people on this trip. Each one of them is incredible and beautiful and I’m so blessed to have had this experience with this family.
One moment that I had found truly incredible was when tall Steve (the leader of Community Collaborations) talked to the whole camp about a very tall live oak tree by the water. He described to us the story about one person realizing after the huge water surge from Hurricane Katrina, the salt on the trees would kill these beautiful trees because there was no rain following the storm. This woman rallied many people and they saved these 400 year old live oak trees lining all down the shoreline coast. Unfortunately, some of these trees did not survive after the salt’s destruction. Instead of leaving the destroyed trees, they decided to have a professional chainsaw artist and carve many things ranging from dolphins to eagles. This was hope for the city of Biloxi. And I was given the opportunity to see these beautiful statues the morning after. I thought this story from Steve was so powerful, and one that I will never forget.
The work that we had during the duration of this week ranged from cleaning up many different places and planting gardens, to packing up oysters to be used for the prevention of land erosion. With such variety, came such amazing people along for the ride. I had the incredible pleasure of meeting Martha, Marty, Kim and many other inspiring people. Martha truly had the biggest impact on me. Her story behind starting up Horticulture for Humanities was so inspiring. She explained that a week after Hurricane Katrina, sunflowers started popping up all throughout the city and gave people hope through total tragedy and destruction. She said that if this caused people to have hope, then why not create more hope through the city of Biloxi? A powerful thing that stuck out to me was when she said that she knows another storm will come through just like Katrina, but when it does, there will be the flowers to give people hope, just like the sunflowers did for her and many others through the devastating storm of Katrina.
These are only several powerful things that happened to me and I’m so grateful to have had this opportunity. Without all the support from my family and friends I truly don’t know how this opportunity would be possible. I’m so blessed and grateful for everyone here and every experience I’ve had this week.
I love you all.
Melissa Knox, Class of 2015