News-Herald Staff Writer
CADIZ – Rob Sterling is helping New Orleans recover from Hurricane Katrina, one house at a time.
For the past four years, the Harrison County Engineer has traveled with members of Emmanuel Lutheran Church in New Philadelphia to rebuild houses devastated during the fierce storm in 2005 that breached the levee at Lake Pontchartrain and left 80 percent of the city underwater.
The New Philadelphia church partnered with Grace Lutheran Church in New Orleans for the project, while other churches from Bolivar and Newcomerstown also participated.
Most recently, he spent three days in early February assisting Habitat For Humanity, which has reconstructed or constructed nearly 400 homes in New Orleans, although 22,000 were damaged by the hurricane. He said the homeowners themselves were required to pitch in and give 300 hours of service with the organization, including 100 hours or more on what would become their own residence.
He said the church group had aided roughly three-dozen projects in the past, most of which were restoring homes. This was the first year he built new ones under Habitat For Humanity’s umbrella.
He added that it gave him some satisfaction to make a difference, even though it was more of a working vacation. He also noticed a difference from 2006 to the present– a sense of optimism amid the devastation.
Look for the full story of Sterling’s service project and additional photos in the next edition of the Harrison News-Herald.