Rifle High grad helps clean up in New Orleans | PostIndependent.com

Rifle High grad helps clean up in New Orleans

Kay Vasilakis

Anna Peterson, 2004 graduate of Rifle High School and a junior at CU Boulder, went to New Orleans with Alternative Breaks, a group through Colorado University which organizes alternative spring break trips every year. “It was definitely and eye-opening experience,” said Anna, who is the daughter of Brent and Shirley Peterson, of New Castle. “In New Orleans, we actually stayed at Crescent House, which before the storm was a women’s shelter.””While there, our group went to two houses and hauled out all the moldy furniture, all the clothes and belongings, and then we tore out the carpets and the walls, so all that was left was the basic frame of the house. That, to me was the hardest part, not only the physical labor, but the fact that I couldn’t help imagining what it would feel like if it were my house,” Anna said.”Everything was still as it had been seven months ago. We never met any of the people whose homes we gutted, but we learned about them just by being in their homes, and then we tore it all apart and reduced it to a pile of garbage in the street. I personally thought this part of it was the most emotionally challenging,” she said.”The thing I was most surprised by was how empty everything seemed,” she continued. “Block after block of houses were abandoned, business were closed, rusted out cars were lined up under bridges, or sat crumpled by the side of the road. Looking around the city, it almost felt like Katrina had hit yesterday.”I would totally do it again. All 14 of us on the trip left wanting to go back again. There’s so much work left to be done. If I could say something, it would be not to forget that we still have a city in our nation that is in so much crisis. A large part of the city still has no electricity or running water, corruption is proliferating, and in between these things, people are still struggling. These people haven’t just lost their homes, but their entire lives.” Anna’s parents are proud of her spirit. “She has always had a spirit of adventure as well as a big heart,” said her mother. “She is fearless when it comes to helping people.”Way to go, Anna!The Feud continuesDon’t forget the third annual Coal Country Feud, at 7 p.m. Saturday, May 6, at the New Castle Community Center. The Lions Club is sponsoring a spaghetti dinner beginning at 5:45 p.m., and there will be a dessert table throughout the evening. Six teams will be competing for bragging rights. Envelopes purchased by audience members will add another dimension to the New Castle historical trivia event. Teams who need a little help during the event will be able to choose any envelope from the audience. Some of those envelopes will allow lucky teams to double or triple the points they already have accumulated. It’s sure to be a fun event. Come and cheer for your favorite team and support a worthy cause. Proceeds benefit Burning Mountain Festival.One last noteGo, Avs!Kay Vasilakis’ “New Castle News” appears every other Thursday. To contact her with news tips and inspirations, please call 945-8515, ext. 513 or e-mail kvasilakis@postindependent.com.


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