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Part 3: Last Try


Back Home in Atlanta

May 20, 2010
It was a long drive back home. I had to leave the Coast before oil really ever arrived on the beaches. Now that the gunk has started floating up on beaches across the Gulf Coast, I can only hope and pray for the best, but I really do fear for the worst.

I am still active on several volunteer lists, and considering the reasons I went to the Coast in the first place, this was a very good trip.

May 30, 2010

It has now been over a week since I left the Coast, and many of my worst fears are being realized in the marshes and wetlands of Southern Louisiana. Deep in the Gulf's murky depths, giant plumes of death roll along the sea floor, killing everything in their wake. None of the efforts to shut off the oil flow have been successful, and our coastal waters are fast becoming cesspools of toxic waste.
I told y'all from the start how difficult it has been to actually volunteer anywhere. Yesterday, I received this e-mail from OilSpillVolunteers.com:

Update for Mississippi Volunteers, May 29, 2010

OilSpillVolunteers.com and the Mississippi Commission for Volunteer Service have jointly prepared this e-mail. It is being distributed to the 3,000 Mississippians who registered at OilSpillVolunteers.com to assist with the BP oil spill response ...

BP and federal officials have determined that volunteers will not work in direct contact with contaminants, hazardous materials or oiled wildlife. Visit www.mdes.ms.gov to apply for paid clean-up worker positions. However, if the oil impacts the shores of Mississippi, there may be opportunities to provide support services as a volunteer behind the lines and away from any possibility of contact with the oil. No volunteer opportunities are available now ...

Thank you for volunteering your time and talents through OilSpillVolunteers.com ... MCVS will provide ongoing informational updates and notifications of oil spill volunteer service opportunities.

The volunteer response from Mississippians has been astonishing. We are proud to be associated with you.

Sincerely,
Don Abrams & Melanie Allen

But I also got a call from Catherine Gautier, Executive Director of Hands on Mississippi. Her group coordinates volunteer response along the Gulf Coast, and she told me that even though volunteers would not be involved directly in oil spill response, there were several ways people can help out. She was welcoming any potential volunteers to visit their website and register. Soon after, IMMS posted a volunteer link on their Facebook page, and opportunities include dolphin stranding response, wild dolphin research, community outreach, and educating the public about marine mammals. So, volunteer if you can, however you can.

Next: Part 4: Volunteering: How It Really Works

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