A new relationship with animals, nature and each other.

Part 2: The Wildlife Refuges

No Volunteers, but Now Hiring

May 15, 2010

I’ve been calling and sending e-mails to people ever since the spill first happened. I’ve volunteered with several organizations back in Atlanta, I’ve driven to the Gulf Coast, and I’ve obtained all of the safety training available to the general public. I’m ready to help out, but have been unable to find any way to do so as a volunteer.

So today I went down to the WIN Job Center — The Mississippi Department of Employment Security in Waveland. BP has hired staffing firms to fill cleanup positions in the Gulf, and Multi-Staffing Inc. is going through the state unemployment office. Several fishermen and shrimpers stopped by while I was sitting there and were told to show up Monday morning at 8 a.m. for an interview.

I had already gotten in under the wire though, so I was able to meet with Sandra Stone, an Employment Interviewer there. Sandra and I talked about my desire to move back to the Coast and obtain employment helping clean up the oil spill. She looked into my background and told me that the job required taking a 40-hour HAZWOPER (Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response) class, passing a physical exam, and it paid $12 per hour.

So here is my conundrum: I came to find out what was going on and help out. I did not come here to take a job away from some poor local who can’t feed his family because of this mess. It is one thing to volunteer down here, but completely another to compete for available jobs. I have always wanted to return to the Gulf Coast someday, but this was not at all how I had envisioned it.