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Another wave hits Biloxi
December 6, 2004. Like 9/11, the date is burned into Karen and Darryl Hundleys memories. It was the day a Tsunami leveled cities and erased lives in Indonesia. Karens thought was that such a wave of devastation must be countered by a Wave of Grace. Otherwise, what are we here for?
The Hundleys are ordinary people. Karen is a Marysville wife, mother and pre-school teacher and Darryl is a social worker. Not the typical resumes for people bent on doing something Huge. While spaghetti feeds and car washes all do their bit, the Hundleys reckoned that the tsunamis aftermath required something more. However, the window of time for materially helping Indonesians in distress slipped by them. But while it was slipping, Karen and Darryl were planning. The next time disaster struck they would be better prepared.
When Hurricane Katrina struck, the Hundleys swung into action. With the help of Jack and Joneen Richards, Suzie Nelson, Patti and Greg Pote, Randy and Kathy Torgerson, Tom Frodsham and the list goes on, they booked the M-PHS Performing Arts hall, enlisted support from Bethlehem Lutheran Church, the United Methodists, Marysville Assembly of God, the Free Methodists, Judah Praise Center, Allen Creek Community Church and Word of Life Lutheran Church and convinced performing artists to appear for a free benefit concert to help victims of Katrina. The Oct. 2, 2005 concert was fittingly named Wave of Grace. Its audience offered up $8,500 that was split between the Salvation Army and Habitat for Humanitys work on the storm-torn Gulf Coast.
Not a tourist Mecca, Biloxi got a fraction of the coverage focused on New Orleans. Yet it was Biloxi that took the brunt of the storm. It was Biloxi where monumental winds leveled neighborhoods. And because of its modest elevation, it is Biloxi that stands a better chance than New Orleans of surviving a sea-surge should another killer-hurricane hit. And unlike New Orleans, Biloxi has waited longer for laggard insurance company and federal aid to kick into gear.
Not satisfied with just sending money, a construction and repair team from Bethlehem Lutheran gave up work days or vacation time to pay their way to Biloxi where they tore down and built up as needed. They returned satisfied that they had contributed but carrying a grim picture of all that was left to be done. That set things in motion for another Wave of Grace, but this time it would bankroll a local teams need for building supplies.
So the Hundleys expanding production team went to work again. On April 11, 2007 they kicked off the second Wave of Grace benefit, a dinner-concert held at Bethlehem Lutheran Church. Community support for that Wave of Grace event included Manning Trucking Company, Albertsons, Cristianos, the Golden Corral, Happy Days Cafe, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Safeway and Thriftway, Karl Embacher and Kathy Stanness, each underwriting the event with unique contributions.
On April 20 a construction team of 15 left Marysville for Biloxi. Fifteen strong and carrying the proceeds of the second Wave of Grace event, they are making a difference for a few grateful families.
Disaster will likely strike again. With record-breaking storms becoming an every-year occurrence, a third Wave of Grace may well-up from Marysville where charity knows no bounds. Interested organizations, churches and individuals with construction skills may contact Karen Hundley through Bethlehem Lutheran Church.