Payson Woman Continues Hurricane Katrina Reconstruction Efforts


International Relief Teams (IRT) sent a team of 20 volunteer construction workers to Mississippi on Sunday to repair homes of the poor and elderly damaged by Hurricane Katrina. The team includes Payson resident Patricia Walker who is making her second trip to Mississippi.

Walker’s team is concentrating their efforts on the eastern part of the state.

This is the 32nd IRT deployed to Mississippi to assist with the re-construction efforts.

Since March 2006, IRT volunteers have repaired/rebuilt more than 195 homes.

More than 20,000 homes in Mississippi were badly damaged or destroyed when Hurricane Katrina hit the state.

“Five years on and there are still many displaced families,” said Barry La Forgia, executive director of IRT, a San Diego-based nonprofit relief agency. “Many are poor and elderly living on low and fixed incomes. They cannot afford to repair or rebuild their homes without help.”

IRT is working collaboratively with the Mississippi United Methodist Conference, which is providing case management, prioritization of work, and delivery of construction materials to the various locations where the teams are working.

The cost to send a team of 20 volunteers to Mississippi for a week is approximately $14,000. Donations to support the relief effort can be sent to IRT, 4560 Alvarado Canyon Road, Ste. 2G, San Diego, CA 92120.

IRT is looking for skilled and semi-skilled volunteers to join future teams. Interested persons can contact the office at (619) 284-7979 or submit an application online at


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