HATTIESBURG, Miss. - This weeks Kindness in Action highlights Sheila Varnado, the CEO of Hattiesburg's R3SM.
Varnado helps the Pine Belt area during times of natural disasters. R3SM is a non-profit organization that helps to recover, rebuild, and restore the community after a major disaster.
Varnado helped jump start the organization in 2006 after Hurricane Katrina.
“Again because of Katrina we had so many cases to be worked, we ended up lasting, a whole lot longer than anyone ever thought we would.”
She said Hurricane Katrina was a prime example of what needed to be done after a disaster. After state and federal assistance, there is still a need of long term recovery organizations.
“It’s really left up to the community, to work with them, find out, what there unmet needs are and help them" she said.
Varnado added, "Recovery, organizations, and communities who do not have organizations like ours, they struggle, it’s a struggle no matter what.”
South Mississippi is no stranger to hurricanes, flooding, and tornadoes. Since 2006 R3SM has helped thousands of Pine Belt residents, repairing over 400 homes and building new ones too after major disasters.
She added, “We’re here certainly during natural disasters, but we remain viable even after we have done things to help people recover."
"There is still need to go out and help with repairing of homes, and helping people live in livable conditions" she said.
Varnado said she hopes to offer assistance any way she can.
“If we impact, 5 lives, or 10 lives, that 5 or 10 more lives that could not have been impacted potentially" Varnado said.
To learn more about Hattiesburg R3SM you can click here.