One worker displaced by Hurricane Katrina has found work in Tulsa

Thursday, September 8th 2005, 4:00 pm
By: News On 6

Hurricane Katrina left thousands of people with nothing more than the shirt on their back. Now many of them are looking for jobs. Ralph Harper is already one-step-ahead.

As News on 6 reporter Steve Berg explains, he's already in his second week on the job.

Last week, Ralph Harper fled New Orleans with his family. This week, Ralph Harper is working in Tulsa at TD Williamson. "And opportunity comes for me, and I took full advantage of it."

It's not Ralph's first trip to Oklahoma. His brother lives here and he had actually been planning a visit. "With the hurricane coming, I said it's as good a time as any.” His brother's wife knew somebody who knew somebody in the employment agency business. And just like that, he was set up with a job.

Krista Turner runs the agency and hopes more employers will help. "They need to step up to the plate, we're going to have a lot of people here who need jobs and they need to be able to provide for their family."

She says Ralph was exhausted when she first saw him and we also wondered why, after all those hours on the road, would he hop right behind the wheel of a forklift. Take a few days off? Not Ralph. "It's good to be working, to be somewhat independent and not a liability." He says he would have just been sitting around, worrying about his family, some of whom are still missing. "This job is a blessing because it takes my mind off, plus it gives me something to do, and I’m making an income."

Like it or not though, he's getting help. "I've got to say Oklahoma is fantastic, they came out and gave us mattresses, beds and microwave ovens, lord have mercy."

Eventually though, he wants to go back. "Because that's where my life is at. I love it out here, but you know, home is home."

Workforce Oklahoma has about 10 staffers at Camp Gruber getting hurricane victims registered in their database. Then they'll start trying to line them up with employers.

For victims outside of Camp Gruber, you should call the nearest Workforce Oklahoma office or visit them on-line at They have more than 4 dozen office across the state.