Emily Prunty, a student at the Anderson University School of Public Service and Administration, was with North Carolina Baptist On Mission Disaster Relief assisting victims of Hurricane Ida in New Orleans, Louisiana in September.
Prunty and her team spent a week in the heart of New Orleans putting tarps on roofs. They also removed water damaged interior building materials and took other measures to prevent mold from growing. New Orleans didn’t have the same mind-boggling devastation and loss of life as with Hurricane Katrina in 2005, but there was still significant damage, according to Prunty.
“The majority is wind. The levee system has been improved, of course, so the problem wasn’t really flooding. It was more of the wind taking shingles off of roofs; therefore, creating holes in the roofs,” Prunty said. “So we put tarps on roofs so they don’t get water inside of the house. Then there are also the houses that did get water inside; we have to take the ceilings out, take the sheetrock and insulation.”
Prunty, who is working on her BA in Homeland Security and Emergency Services, has been involved with disaster relief for more than six years. Earlier in 2021, she and her father, Marty Prunty, assisted flooding victims in Oneida, Kentucky, as part of North Carolina Baptist On Mission Disaster Relief.
“This is much different than going to North or South Carolina or Kentucky, mainly because New Orleans gets hit with hurricanes more often,” Prunty said. “It’s almost like the people here are used to it, but they also are still receptive to help, and appreciate our help as well. The good thing about being down here is I’ve been able to learn more about the organization that I’m with—the setup and teardown and operational procedures, different logistics behind the organization.”
Blessed in return by those she helps, Prunty said, “We walked on Bourbon Street in the French Quarter wearing our Baptist On Mission shirts. Everybody was nice and welcoming. They know who we are, what we represent and why we’re here, and they are very appreciative that we’re here.”