TIFTON -- A local electricity company and the local high school are committing their resources to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina.
Relief efforts continue in Louisiana and Mississippi to alleviate the devastation left by the worst natural disaster in America in a century. Two local groups have joined the cause, one by lending its expertise and another by raising money.
Colquitt EMC, a local power company, sent 15 workers and nine utility vehicles to Meridian, Miss., to help power crews there repair power lines in the devastated area. According to Lamar Norman, manager of operations, and Dixie Lightfoot, district manager of the company's Tifton office, crews from Moultrie and Valdosta will join the Tifton crew. The electrical workers were mobilized by the Georgia Emergency Management Agency.
The crews will stay for two weeks and then be relieved by a new crew. Although they are initially heading to Meridian, the crews could be sent elsewhere as needed.
A crew from S and S Construction accompanied the group to assist in the restoration of the area.
The crews will repair downed power lines, destroyed infrastructure and tree damage. They took enough fuel with them to make the trip.
Norman said the men could not wait to get to Meridian and help the hurricane's victims.
Tift County High School also started a drive today to help in the relief effort. The theme of the drive is "Get Meaner Than Katrina," and students and faculty will be raising money to donate to the American Red Cross. The Red Cross will then use the money to provide supplies and assistance to the victims of the destructive storm.
"We're going to try to get behind it as much as possible and we know the community's following suit because of the devastation of Katrina," said Mike Beeman, marketing teacher at TCHS and one of the drive's organizers.
Beeman said that the drive will be divided into several smaller campaigns. Cans and other containers will be posted in most classrooms at the school for donations. Teachers will also be on hand tonight for the Tift County versus Irwin County football game with donation buckets.
"Holler For A Dollar" is one of the smaller drives that targets students. By donating a dollar, they are entered into a drawing for a $25 gas card.
Beeman said the fund raising is a short-term project for the time being but could be extended if the need of the victims continues.
He said that he has contacted officials with Pinkerton Academy in New Hampshire, a school where he was once a teacher and that the officials there have talked about collaborating with TCHS on the fundraising project by sending support.
Beeman said that the "Get Meaner Than Katrina" drive is a collaboration of teachers and school administrators trying to help their neighbors.
"We want to overcome the devastation," he said. "That's the gist of it."
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