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Family moved by city’s help
Local News - Monday, October 03, 2005 @ 07:00
In the midst of loud music and chatter, an unassuming young boy toddles through Hollinger Park with a big red balloon in his hands.
Two-year-old Mark Edward Desrochers is a popular fellow among the hundreds of people gathered, and one could only imagine what was going on inside his head.
His mother, Patricia Desrochers, said there is nothing her son enjoys more than being outside — especially on a beautiful Saturday afternoon, with the all-too-cruel scent of hamburgers on the grill.
However, the lad seems a bit bewildered by all the attention.
“It takes him awhile to warm up to people,” she said.
“He’s a shy child.”
The Desrochers, whose Biloxi, Miss. home was badly damaged during hurricane Katrina, were the story of the day by the Power of One barbecue.
This event raised more than $12,000 for the family that currently lives in a Federal Emergency Management Association trailer.
Desrochers was with relatives in Baton Rouge, La. while her police officer husband, Craig, was holding the fort during hurricane.
While the presence of relatives provided plenty of moral support, she said her mind was on Craig at the station in Long Beach, Miss. — about 25 kilomtres west of Biloxi — which was taking a beating from the powerful winds and the rain.
“It was very distressing,” she said. “But we understood why he had to be where he had to be. I was sure he was OK, but I didn’t hear from him.”
Communication was next to impossible. Land lines were down and cellphones were essentially useless.
All the while, Patricia and Mark bided their time in a crowded house with 11 people and six dogs. With no air conditioning for several days, the climate was stifling.
She said her son had a vague idea something was amiss, but it was mostly business as usual for him.
“He was with his grandma and grandpa, aunts and uncles,” she said. “He’s doing well. He knows something is going on. I think he wonders, ‘Why can’t I walk in the house?’”
Despite the ordeal, she considers herself fortunate her husband is safe and sound.
She said there was extreme relief when she finally heard his voice again.
“I prayed to God ... I don’t care if the house is destroyed as long as he’s okay,” she said.