If you were reading my daily columns during Hurricane Katrina, you may remember I wrote a lot about an organization called Noah’s Wish, whose staff and volunteers put in uncounted hours rescuing and caring for thousands of animal-victims of the hurricane. Many of you were kind enough to donate funds to Noah’s Wish to help them with their rescue activities.
I just received the following e-mail from Noah’s Wish. I thought it might interest you:
My name is Patricia Jones and I am the director of media for Noah’s Wish; we worked together during Hurricane Katrina.
As the one year anniversary of Katrina approaches, we are reminded that wrenching destruction is not the only legacy of the disaster, as owners continue to be reunited with their pets. One New Orleans resident, Tammy Huppin, was forced to relinquish her cats to Noah’s Wish after the storm destroyed her home. One of her cats — "Lucy" — was one of 22 orphans transported to a Lake Tahoe cat rescue facility. Several months later after Tammy had relocated to Austin, TX, she called Noah’s Wish to learn the fate of her cats. Two had been placed into loving new homes, but "Lucy" remained at the Lake Tahoe shelter. Noah’s Wish arranged to fly Tammy to Lake Tahoe, (today, Aug. 14! /Gary), where the joyful reunion will take place.
Much has changed over the past year since Noah’s Wish entered the hurricane-ravaged city of Slidell, LA, and rescued close to 2,000 of its animals. Prior to Katrina, the organization founded by Terri Crisp in 2002 was virtually unknown and struggling. It has since grown into a multi-million dollar organization with 14 staff members and offices in California, Oklahoma and New York City. On August 23, Terri will receive a Humanitarian of the Year award for her work during Katrina by the Sacramento SPCA.
As Noah’s Wish emerges as a leader in the field of animal rescue in disasters, its involvement in California disaster preparedness programs continues to grow. In June, the organization participated in a mock disaster drill with the Department of Homeland Security in Sacramento. In September, Terri will take part in the National Emergency Preparedness Conference alongside Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Michael Chertoff, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security; she will be representing the Sacramento area.
Noah’s Wish is working to build relationships with communities around the country. The organization recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with St. Tammany’s Parish in Louisiana to manage its animal shelters needs in the event of a disaster. The organization’s greatest strength, without a doubt, comes from its volunteers, numbering approximately 1,500 strong. These volunteers all took part in a rigorous three-day training program designed to duplicate the experience — and attendant hardships — of a real-life disaster. Noah’s Wish breaks its training program into regions so that the entire country is covered and anyone who wants to participate in a training — and a disaster — might have the opportunity to do so.
As the one year anniversary of Katrina nears, I am hoping you might find the story of Noah’s Wish of interest to your readers. Please feel free to contact me at your convenience. (Patricia Jones Director of Media Relations, Noah’s Wish)
Organizations like Noah’s Wish help humans and animals to survive during times of great disaster. You can find out more about what they do by visiting their Web site at http://www.noahswish.org. If you can help them in any way, please do so. You may just be helping yourself. Thanks.