On Aug. 29, 2005, I got up, made coffee, and turned on the television. I don’t think I was much different from many folks that day. Hurricane Katrina was making landfall near New Orleans. It was, to that point, the biggest hurricane to hit the Gulf Coast in our lifetimes. The most devastating area hit by Katrina was Gulfport, Miss.
I was pastoring a church in Orange County at the time, and one of our members, Bob Ullerich, came to me and suggested we send a work team to Gulfport to help out in the recovery. I agreed. We created a team of volunteers, and under the tutelage of Bob (He was a wildcatter, working on oil rigs, and sometimes the geothermal wells here in Imperial Valley — his nickname was “Big Dog.”) were trained in basic construction practices.