Christmas came early this year
Members of The People’s Bank from Biloxi, Miss. had been devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. They wanted to pay forward the kindness that was given them in their time of need.
Employees of Bridge City Bank that had lost their homes during Hurricane Ike had been instructed to make a wish list; anything they could think of they needed. They were not told why.
Friday, a U-Haul truck full of items from those lists arrived. Four vice presidents from Biloxi, Dennis Burke, John Welter, Patti LeVine and Jackie Henson accompanied the gifts on the journey.
Eyes grew bigger as the truck was unloaded; a lawn mower, weed eater, bicycles, a microwave, bedding, a vacuum cleaner, blender, athletic equipment and more.
Stacey James started getting embarrassed as her pile grew bigger and bigger. “They didn’t tell me what it was for,” she said. “They just told me to put anything I could think of…so I did,” she said. Her co-workers jokingly said she was just better at making a list.
Michelle Richardson was the recipient of the bicycles, which also came with helmets. Many received gift cards.
The group was also presented with a huge basket full of chocolate candies and general supplies that might be needed.
“This was just as much emotion for us as it was for y’all,” said Burke, one of the four from Biloxi.
Remarking about their experiences during Katrina, “It’s probably something we’ll never get over,” said Burke. “We wouldn’t be where we are today if it hadn’t been for the people that came…and are still coming,” he said.
The People’s Banks lost six branches and 43 of their employees lost everything, so they knew what Bridge City was going through.
Scott Hale of Bridge City Bank said, “You wonder, why would God allow this? Then you get a call from someone who doesn’t know you from Adam.then you know why.”
“It’s one thing to send money, but another to get a list with a name to shop for someone.,” said Burke.
Biloxi continues to recover, three years later. “We’re still battling insurance,” Burke said. Not them paying the claims, but getting new insurance. “If you have insurance, keep paying the premiums,” he advised. Burke explained that most of the insurance companies won’t write new policies in their area.
A Bridge City employee didn’t know what to say, she didn’t know how to explain it. “It’s not embarrassed or ashamed.,” she said.
Burke shook his head knowingly, in agreement, “It’s hard to just say thank you.”
In appreciation for their generosity, Kim Davis and Scott Hale presented The People’s Bank VPs with a gift basket.