Mayor and a church challenges Tulsans to give more to hurricane relief efforts

Friday, September 16th 2005, 10:34 am
By: News On 6

A Tulsa church pastor and Tulsa's mayor visited Mississippi's Gulf Coast on Thursday. They've brought back a concern they hope other Tulsans will soon catch a hold of.

News on 6 reporter Emory Bryan says from the television coverage of Hurricane Katrina, it was clear the coast of Mississippi was flattened. But after a tour of one town hit by a 35 foot deep surge of water, Tulsa's mayor and a Tulsa pastor have redefined what they think of devastation.

Guts Church Pastor Bill Scheer: "We aren't just dealing with depressed people we're dealing with people who have lost everything, and it's beyond black people white people, rich people poor people, it's people sitting on their front church with no on to turn to."

Tulsa Mayor Bill LaFortune and Pastor Bill Scheer led a team of Tulsans on a one day trip to Long Beach, Mississippi, to assess the needs of a city Tulsa promises to help.

Tulsa Mayor Bill LaFortune: "We as a city of Tulsa reaching out to the city of Long Beach have to realize where they are and they are in crisis mode."

How much help Tulsans will be is still undefined. Pastor Scheer says more than money or clothes right now, the people of Long Beach Mississippi need people to help them clean up what's left. He's founded a web site called to take contributions and organize volunteers to go, with the first trip set for October 1st.

Pastor Bill Scheer: "If we sit back and twiddle our thumbs and just wonder what to do, the solution is being a part of a collective, a well managed, well planned effort and then it helps a lot of people."

The city of Tulsa hasn't committed anything more than a few firefighters to help out Long Beach, but the mayor is challenging Tulsans to go there and help out if they can.