Tuesday, November 01, 2005

A Tear jerker Thank you

Thought you all might enjoy this note that HQ received this morning!

Good morning,

I am not writing to receive information, but to say THANK YOU!

My Children and I evacuated to Houston when New Orleans had been threatened
by Hurricane Katrina. Of course as usual, we left with the mindset that we
would return home in a few days.
As the day dawned and the news came that the levees indeed did not hold and
New Orleans was under water, it also dawned on me as a Mother that I had not
prepared for the inability to go hame again. As the horror of the situation
back home began in sink in, so did the uncertainty of our future.

I am a single mother of three school aged children. Benjamin 16, Loren -
he's 14, and Lindsey, 10. They were wanting answers, and I was only full of
questions. We had arrived in Houston to a hotel room my Mom had called from
California and reserved for us. We had a place to stay for three days. The weight
of our situation grew as the uncertain hours passed.
I had left home with my three children and 6 show dogs. I quickly got on the
computer at the hotel and got word out to other Australian Shepherd breeders
around the country that we needed help dispersing our dogs. Folks came and
got them and placed them in new permanent homes for us. I was so very
grateful, but my daughter cried with the parting of every pup. I told her there would
come a day when she would be able to have a dog to show again, but right
now, it was better for everyone for them to go to new homes.

My boys were so unhappy at having left their schools and their friends, and
wanted to go home. They were struggling with having no home to return to and
with knowing that I had allot to deal with.
We had no place to live, and I had no job. Surely this was some kind of joke
right? I mean our lives had been swept out from under us, and it was only a
couple of days ago all had been normal.
A woman with a large house in Katy Texas sent a friend to our hotel to find
a family that needed help, and we moved in here the next day. After a week of
not knowing where to go, we now have a temporary home. I set about the
process of enrolling my kids in local schools to avoid them failing the year, and
to provide some sense of normalcy to their lives.

I then paired up with a friend who had evacuated to this area also, and we
returned to New Orleans to see what we could salvage if anything. The last
thing my daughter said to me when we left was; "mama, please bring my quilt back
with you." Our house was flooded and everything was crawling with mold. I
could not bring her her favorite blanket........and after seeing our home like
that, I was wishing I had a favorite blanket!
I returned to Houston with very little from our house, but had tried to take
something from each child's room, something that belonged to them.
A few days later my oldest som Ben came home from his new High school and
said: "Mama, I have something for you." I looked up and he had in his hand the
most beautiful quilt! I asked: "For me? Where did this come from?"

He stated that he had been called to the office at school and told he could
pick out a blanket for himself. They had been sent by "Project Linus." I had
never heard of it and had no idea it existed. He told the office staff: "My
Mom would like this one", and instead of taking one for himself he brought me
the most beautiful quilt in the world!
I cannot tell you what happened inside of me that day. HOPE ran through me
right then and there. I held that blanket close and felt the love that had
gone through the hands that made it. It was an amazing experience. I thanked God
right then for the folks who made these blankets and arranged for those of
us who have no answers, to have what is most important in this life, hope,
love and comfort. A couple of weeks later my Daughter Lindsey came running in
from school shouting: "Look Mom!" She too had been called into the office at
her elementary school and had been allowed to pick out a blanket. Hers had
horses all over it and they are her real true love..........she was truly
blessed! I couldn't bring her quilt from home, but she now has one "just for her."

These days Thank You just seems so small. But I am writing to say those
small words from the depths of my heart. THANK YOU to all involved with Project
Linus! You are "touching" lives! May God bless you abundantly with every

Benjamin, Loren, and Lindsey O'Connor


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