County prepping to help Gulfport, Miss. | VailDaily.com

County prepping to help Gulfport, Miss.

J.K. Perry

AP photoJohnny Mann is surrounded by rubble as he talks about his experience with friends on the roof of the house where he rode out Hurricane Katrina in the storm ravaged beach area of Gulfport, Miss., Tuesday following Hurricane Katrina.

EAGLE COUNTY – High Country help is on the way for the hurricane-ravaged citizens of Gulfport, Miss. as Eagle County mobilizes to connect with and send goods and services to the Gulf Coast city of 74,000.”We’re looking to help funnel people and other human resources and money to Gulfport,” said County Commissioner Tom Stone.

County officials are holding an open meeting Monday to match Eagle County resources with Gulfport needs. Individuals and organizations are invited to the 6 p.m. meeting at Colorado Mountain College in Edwards. The goal, for example, is to pair chambers of commerce, churches, and others with similar organizations in Gulfport.The project began when Melissa Lally, a Gulfport native and current Eagle resident, put Stone and the other commissioners in touch with Gulfport officials.”This is really important to me and I want to do it right,” Lally said. “I realized Tom Stone meant to adopt an area and I approached him with it because I was in a position to make some contacts.

“A lot of phone lines are out and government officials are working off their personal cell phones and I was able to get those numbers and create a liaison between here and there to find out what their needs are,” she said. When the needed goods are gathered, the items will be shipped to Gulfport, Stone said. “What I foresee in the future is I hope that we’re going to be able to fill most of the list from Gulfport and then within another week arrange to bring goods down to Gulfport,” Stone said.

Lally and Stone called Gulfport a good fit for Eagle County; both are economically dependent upon tourism.About 220 people in the six county area around Gulfport died. Every municipal building except City Hall was lost and six churches are completely gone and others damaged.

Staff Writer J.K. Perry can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 450, or jkperry@vaildaily.com. Vail, Colorado