By Governor Haley Barbour
September 20, 2004
Thanks, Mississippi: You Have Shown Why We're Called
"The Hospitality State"
Hurricane Ivan Was The Only One Not Welcome
During the past several days, as the Hurricane Ivan threat surged and retreated, I had the opportunity to see Mississippi at its finest. Mississippians prepared for the worst and prayed for the best - and the result says a lot about our state. Marsha and I want to say "thank you"
Thank You: Evacuees
Two days before the storm made landfall, I joined other emergency officials and urged the evacuation of threatened areas of the Coast. I want to thank the tens of thousands of Mississippians who heeded this warning, secured their property, and fled the storm. This was an unpredictable hurricane. Had it turned two degrees to the West rather than two degrees to the East, the damage in Mississippi would have been catastrophic. Coastal residents are to be commended for their patience while waiting in northbound traffic and for returning home in an orderly fashion once it was safe. These Mississippians made the wise choice for themselves and for their families.
Thank You: Local Leaders
Local emergency management officials, mayors, supervisors, city councils and law enforcement agencies across Mississippi are heroes for their tireless efforts to safeguard their towns and counties even while their own lives and property were in danger.
Thank You: State Agencies
I am very proud of how our state agencies handled this crisis. The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), its Executive Director Robert Latham and its staff along with Adjutant General Harold Cross and the men and women of Mississippi's National Guard were well prepared and took all the necessary precautions to protect Mississippians and their property from Hurricane Ivan. The Department of Human Services, the Department of Public Safety, the Department of Transportation and others were all instrumental in assisting with the preparation and relief efforts resulting from Ivan.
MEMA is continuing to support Alabama and Florida in ensuring the safety of affected citizens in the aftermath of the hurricane. Members of the Mississippi Army and Air National Guard also are continuing to assist here at home and in Florida and Alabama, with the clearing of trees and debris and assisting local and state law enforcement agencies.
Thank You: FEMA
I would like to thank President George W. Bush and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for declaring Mississippi a major disaster area so quickly. We can now receive federal funds for rebuilding areas that were hit by the storm.
Our request for aid included individual assistance, debris removal, emergency protective measures in the first 72 hours, public assistance for local governments and infrastructure, disaster unemployment, crisis counseling, disaster legal services, and the Small Business Administration Disaster Loans program.
Thank You: Volunteers
I especially want to thank those Mississippians who opened churches, schools, and homes to accommodate the evacuees. To see so many shelters available to house those during this time of need was encouraging and made me proud. So many Mississippians volunteered here, and hundreds are still helping in Alabama and Florida. I commend you for being such an
outstanding example for all of us.
A critical part of this relief effort still needs your help. Please contact your local Red Cross, Salvation Army or local disaster relief program to make a donation to help those in need.
Americans have always known Mississippi as "The Hospitality State."
Last week, Mississippians more than earned that title.