Hains doesn't think too much about what she lost because of Hurricane
Katrina. Instead, she is very thankful to God for what she has found.
Hains, a divorced woman still raising her teenage daughter, was
living in an apartment in Biloxi - her home for the past 15 years. She
"rode out" other storms before, so she determined to ride this one
out as well.
But when forecasters warned that Katrina would
probably achieve a Category 5 status and hit the Mississippi Gulf Coast
head-on, Hains felt it was too late to leave. She filled her car with gas,
loaded up on supplies and prayed.
"I know this sounds
crazy, but during the storm I really wasn't scared," Hains said.
"I had an incredibly peaceful feeling that we would be O.K. I only got
scared a few days after the storm, when the infrastructure crumbled all around
Roof damage allowed rainwater to soak her carpets
and furniture, and soon the smell of mold and mildew was nearly
"To make matters worse, there was looting
all over our neighborhood. We just didn't feel safe anymore," she
Hains and her daughter loaded the car with what they
could salvage. They headed north, the only open course available to them, and
ended up in Tennessee.
Repairs were made to their apartment
complex and by Christmas, mother and daughter moved back to Biloxi.
"My background is in mental healthcare, so I got a job
conducting crisis counseling for other disaster victims door-to-door," she
That's when her life really changed.
Dr. Don Hains, a clinical psychologist with a practice in New
Orleans, lost everything in the storm. He came to Biloxi in hopes of starting
over. While volunteering with the same agency as Anne, they met and fell in
By August they were married.
"Katrina had an effect on me that nothing else could
have," Hains said. "As traumatic as the disaster was, there was one
good thing that happened to me - I met the man of my dreams!"
Hains also met The Salvation Army. A position opened with the
Army's Katrina Aid Today program, and she applied. She is now KAT program
director for the state of Mississippi.
"I love working
for this organization!" she said. "It is a Christian ministry,
helping people get past the worst disaster in our country's history.
Working with the staff and helping people recover has brought me so close to
When Hains talks about her new husband and
new job, she gets nearly as giddy as a schoolgirl.
"Katrina was horrific, and death and destruction was
everywhere. But in all that, the Lord brought two beams of sunshine to me
through the dark stormclouds: a Christian husband and working for The Salvation
Army," she said.
"Who could ask for more?"