Among the destruction and ruins in Louisiana, Loves Park resident Richard Garrity finds the place he once called home.
"I was just devastated. I just, I don't know what to think about what's left of anything, or when I'll ever get there to find out," Garrity said.
Garrity moved to the stateline just a year ago from Kenner, Louisiana, just west of New Orleans. His belongings are still there in storage: furniture, clothes, gifts from his late parents. He planned to pick them all up September 1.
"All my life, my pictures, my belongings, things from my mom, my dad, personal papers, birth certificates, insurance policies. You name it, everything you can think of is in there," Garrity said.
But Garrity says his losses pale to those of his former neighbors. Unable to get hold of many of them, he's spent the last few days in front of the TV, at the computer, and monitoring the phone.
"It's unbelievable; I've gnawed my nails off, I've paced the floor, drank entire pots of coffee, smoked cigarettes; it's been traumatic," Garrity said.
It'll be at least 12 weeks before he goes back, but Garrity says, there won't be a day that goes by that he doesn't put himself back in his hometown. Among the places he once knew, the places that are now only memories.
Meanwhile here, a church in the stateline is collecting donations for victims of the hurricane. New Life Bible Church at Route 20 and Hoisington Road is providing disaster relief for folks down south. The church is collecting blankets, clothing, toiletries, food and water. It's also accepting cash donations. The church is open until 8 tonight and on Monday from three to eight.
The Salvation Army is also starting one of its largest aid efforts in history. Units were set up around the area before the hurricane and are now moving into help. The Salvation Army is setting up staging areas and soup kitchens. Right now the organization is asking for monetary donations because there are no distribution centers set up or transportation to bring supplies down south. But our local chapter of the Salvation Army is looking for volunteers.