Temple Times Online Edition
    MARCH 2, 2006
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WRTI’s Todd lends a hand in wake of Hurricane Katrina

When WRTI membership services manager Anne Todd left the Peace Corps in 1970, she never dreamed that she would be called upon again — certainly not 35 years later.

But when Hurricane Katrina battered the Gulf Coast in August, many thousands of Americans’ lives changed in ways that might never have imagined.

“I served in the village of Baguida in Togo, West Africa, from 1968 to 1970,” Todd recalled.

“I was a health educator, teaching personnel in the local clinic to teach preventative medicine.

I loved helping people in that way.

Photo courtesy Anne Todd
WRTI’s Anne Todd went to Texarkana, Ark., late last fall to help refugees from New Orleans and surrounding areas whose lives were disrupted by Hurricane Katrina.

So when the Peace Corps put out a call for former volunteers to assist in FEMA’s efforts, I thought, ‘Now that’s something I definitely want to do.’”

So, Todd cashed in all her vacation and personal time at WRTI and took a month’s leave in November to “rejoin” the Peace Corps, this time heading to Texarkana, Ark., where refugees from New Orleans and surrounding areas were being housed in shelters, churches and other makeshift accommodations.

“We helped people process their paperwork, resolve banking issues, get medical care, find more permanent housing, get their kids in schools, and so forth,” she said.

“There are over a hundred Katrina evacuees in the Texarkana School District alone, most of whom needed clothing, medical care and/or housing.

“The best thing about my experience in the Peace Corps was living in another culture and feeling completely connected to its people,” she said.

“I know that we are all connected as an extended family. That is the sense I have with the people who had to leave New Orleans. They have many unsettling stories, but we worked at the problems, and there was a lot of laughing and hugging.”

Reprinted from Tempo.