To the residents of the great Pacific Northwest:

With tears in my eyes I have read the many articles regarding the outpouring of concern, caring and willingness to go "above and beyond" to send help in numerous ways to the needy victims of Hurricane Katrina.

I "rode out" the hurricane with my two sons, their families and beloved pets after my efforts to persuade them to leave with me failed. By that time it was too late for me to leave. However, my family and I are among the very blessed who survived harm, for which I will always be grateful and I will never take that blessing for granted.

My oldest son lost his house and all belongings as well as his data communications business. However, he does have flood insurance to help him get a new start in a new location on much higher ground, so he is fortunate.

My youngest son and I both have fallen trees on the roofs of our houses, but compared to the devastation that I witnessed, it is minor damage.

Sept. 1, I evacuated to Ocean Park to spend time with my mother who had gone through the stressful ordeal of not knowing if her whole family was dead or alive for many hours when we were unable to communicate.

This letter is to thank all of you in the great Pacific Northwest for fundraising activities and volunteers who are going to make sacrifices to help others. Your generosity and help will always be appreciated and remembered by the people here as well as in Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana.

With sincere gratitude

Joan Murphy

Gulfport, Miss.

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