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Sue Bush
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Katrina Aid Fundraiser Planned for Sept.11

By Susan Bush
12:00AM / Thursday, September 01, 2005

Adams – Patricia “Pat” Dean could barely find the words to describe the emotions generated by newspaper photographs that capture the ongoing Hurricane Katrina horrors.

“We have to do something to help, we have to,” she said. “I can’t..I just..we have to help.”

For Dean, words are not a substitute for action and on Sept. 1, after conversing with several co-workers at the Smith Brothers-McAndrews Insurance Agency, Dean put a plan into motion.

In the Name of the Town of Adams

On Sept. 11, beginning at 1 p.m., Dean and a small group of friends will set up tables and containers at the Town Common and collect monetary donations destined for the American Red Cross and earmarked for Katrina relief efforts in the name of the Town of Adams.

“We will be there at our tables and we will sit,” she said. “Hopefully, people will come by and bring donations. Every bit of it will go the Red Cross.”

The Biloxi, Mississippi and Mobile, Alabama regions were devastated by the storm and New Orleans has been completely ravaged by flooding that occurred after the storm. Among those stranded in the city are the sick, the elderly, children and families who are facing armed looters and others described by Louisiana authorities as a “criminal element.” Those who escaped the region prior to Katrina’s strike are very likely to be homeless and jobless; those who sought safety within the Superdome are slowly being evacuated from that damaged structure to the Astrodome in Texas. Rescue efforts have been hampered by a seemingly never-ending wall of obstacles, some nature-made, and some man-made.

For all intents and purposes, there is simply nothing left of the city.

"We Have So Much and They Have Nothing"

Dean is married to town Selectman Joseph R. Dean Jr. and lives on West Road.

“My heart goes out to these people,” she said. “They have nothing, nothing. Gas prices are high, so what? We have our homes, our beds. We have so much and they have absolutely nothing. There are so many who won’t have homes for years. People have no jobs. Where will they go, where will they work? How can they live? I can’t even think about what Christmas will be like for these people.”

Town Selectmen’s Chairwoman Myra Wilk said that she supports the collection effort.

“I think it is a wonderful idea and I applaud Pat for this,” Wilk said. "This is a wonderful, wonderful thing.”

"These People Are Our Neighbors"

Dean agreed that she, like so many other individuals around the country, is desperate to help the hurricane victims and has had the desire to travel to the area to do whatever she can. However, for a variety of safety, health, and other reasons, almost all relief and rescue agencies and providers are strongly discouraging such travel, and cash donations are being encouraged.

For Dean and the group who plans to accompany her, the collection effort will ease their feelings of helplessness and deliver much-needed revenue to a region stripped of even the most minor comforts.

“We want to do something,” she said. “We have to do something. They may live far from us but that doesn’t matter, these people are our neighbors. We want to do something. We want to.”

Susan Bush may be reached via e-mail at suebush123@adelphia.net or at 802-823-9367.

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