Pearlington project still giving |

Pearlington project still giving

Photo courtesy Chip Munday

CARBONDALE, Colorado ” It’s been almost four years since Hurricane Katrina devastated the small town of Pearlington, Miss., but Carbondale citizen efforts to help the residents of that community are still bearing fruit.

After the hurricane slammed the Gulf Coast in August of 2005, the Carbondale and Rural Fire Protection District joined up with other Roaring Fork Valley organizations to adopt the unincorporated burg in southwest Mississippi for relief efforts.

Volunteers made numerous supply runs to Pearlington in the weeks and months following the hurricane, and the effort eventually led to the formation of the nonprofit Mountains to Mississippi.

The Carbondale Rotary Club did its part by arranging for a refurbished FEMA trailer to be equipped as a mobile medical facility. The final piece of that project fell into place this week when a brand new Ford F250 was delivered and will soon be driven to Pearlington to be paired with the trailer.

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“During Hurricane Katrina, many citizens of the small town of Pearlington remained in their homes or returned shortly after the storm,” said Chip Munday, a Carbondale Rotary Club member who helped spearhead the project. “There was no access to medical attention and little if no way to obtain transportation to local medical facilities which are located over 10 miles away from Pearlington.”

As the community has had to rebuild, medical issues continue to arise, he said, yet there is no local clinic or facility to care for the elderly, indigent, those without transportation and those not seriously injured which require simple treatment.

“The purpose of this project is to create a mobile medical capability,” Munday said. “The project will help more than 1,700 residents of Pearlington, as well as a few small adjacent towns in unincorporated western Hancock County.”

Carbondale Rotary partnered with the Rotary Club of Stennis Space Center in Mississippi and other Rotary clubs through the Rotary Foundation and Rotary International to fund the project. Other local contributors included the Carbondale and Rural Fire Protection District and Pitkin County.

Funding for the project included a $2,000 matching grant from Carbondale Rotary to go with The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International, which contributed $21,500. The Rotary Club of Stennis Space Center contributed $1,000.

Internationally, the Rotary Club of Chennai K.K. Nagar in India contributed $7,000. Other Rotary clubs in Colorado, Mississippi and India contributed another $25,000 for a project total of $56,500.

The pickup truck was equipped with emergency lights and decals identifying Rotary and the Carbondale Fire Department. The truck and trailer will be turned over to Mountains to Mississippi, which will house and maintain the mobile facility in a protected area just outside of Pearlington.

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