Providence couple shares lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina with locals impacted by flooding

Ten weeks after Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast in August 2005, Kaye and Ferris Groll began an 18-month service mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, managing the Bishop’s Storehouse in Slidell, Louisiana. The LDS Church operates similar facilities throughout the United States, each of them serving as a commodities resource center for individuals and families in need of assistance.

Throughout the course of their mission, the Grolls witnessed the destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina firsthand. As they distributed food and household essentials to people in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Texas and Florida, they realized how deeply the Category 5 hurricane impacted the region.

From their experience serving in the Baton Rouge Louisiana Mission, the couple learned much about how communities rebuild in the aftermath of natural disasters.

“After we came home and really looked at things, we had a new appreciation for what people are going through,” said Kaye Groll. “We came back different people. We didn’t want to take advantage of thinking that everything’s okay after a catastrophe happens because it’s not.”

While the storms impacting Cache Valley homes in recent weeks cannot be compared in magnitude to Hurricane Katrina, the Grolls draw similarities. Their home in Providence isn’t experiencing flooding, but Kaye said she knew of at least 60 homes in neighborhoods surrounding hers that have water problems. As reports of damages increase, the Grolls are grateful for the immediate community response. 

“When we went to [church] meetings yesterday,” Kaye said, “there were grown men crying because they saw how so many people here left everything and worked for hours helping each other.”

Hoping to provide assistance to Cache Valley residents who are facing water problems, the Grolls submitted a list of suggestions for those impacted to Robert Henke, the leader of the Providence LDS Stake. The Grolls shared this letter with <a href=”” target=”_blank”></a>, hoping the insights they gained in Louisiana will benefit local residents who face significant challenges and losses.

Some of their recommendations include addressing mold, watching out for scammers, comparing repair versus replacement costs for damaged items, keeping receipts and notifying authorities (who may have access to public resources). The Grolls also note that many flooding losses are not covered by insurance, and they remind homeowners that flooding has to be reported on seller disclosures. Most important, Kaye and Ferris Groll emphasize the importance of serving others.

“Even when our home hasn’t been victimized by nature,” said Kaye, “we still need to be aware that people are needing help.”

Cache Valley has numerous resources available locally to help with cleanup and restoration. In addition, the American Red Cross has published an <a href=””>extensive guide</a> to help homeowners repair flooded homes. 

(Note: Ferris Groll is a former Logan City Police Chief who also served as Utah’s Deputy Commissioner for Public Safety. He and Kaye are currently serving as proselyting senior missionaries in Providence.)

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