On Aug. 29, 2005 the world as I knew it ended. I am a foster parent who at the time was in the middle of an adopting a 2-year-old child that is my entire world. My home has never flooded and DHS asked me to keep 4 other children in my home for the Hurricane. The day Katrina hit, I was in my home with these 4 children, my adopted daughter and my disabled mother who had just had surgery. I also had 3 parrots and 3 dogs. As water started pouring in my home we took refuge in a neighboring house and sat in 3 feet of water for 8 hours. We watched my home take in over 5 feet of water and cover our van. The Lord saw fit to bless us. We all made it through the hurricane with no one injured including all the animals. I met John Rodgers on the first of November. He met a crazy woman who was barely hanging on to her sanity. I had no flood insurance. No money for repairs. I was terrified I would lose my daughter, and I still had 2 of the other foster children. The first thing John gave me was my first glimpse that things might get better. He made me feel that maybe I didn’t have to be so afraid. Then he, C.O.R.E. and God, went to work. They made a miracle. My home is 35-years-old and an architectural nightmare. It’s been added on to a lot. A room here, a room there, until I had enough room for my mother and me, plus a house full of children. John found a way to fix this giant mess. He was my rock. I would call him just to hear him say that everything would be okay. I remember him promising me that he would not just disappear. He was like my life vest in the middle of an ocean. I can’t describe the panic I felt every time he left. As time went by my house began to look like a home again. Under his guidance it grew from a rubbish pile to my home. I now have a whole house, with electricity and everything! My adoption is finished and Katie and I are now a family. Without John and the people from C.O.R.E. this would never have happened. There are no words to adequately express my gratitude to these wonderful people. If you ever doubt the strength of the Lord or the goodness of your fellow man, think of me.

With all my love and gratitude,
Catherine Garriga