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Flooded areas still damaged months later, volunteers say

BATON ROUGE -- Three months after the flood submerged areas around Baton Rouge, there is still a sea of debris.

Now, the piles include construction waste, a sign the recovery is progressing for residents like Angela Kannon, whose trailer is still gutted.

"I had 2-3 feet of mold," Kannon said. "That's where your damage comes in, the mold."

A team of volunteers is helping Kannon put her home back together, turning the recovery into a spiritual mission of help.

"We have been probably to 90 percent of the flooded areas," said Ken Wetzel.

Wetzel founded New Life Disaster Relief after he got caught in the Hurricane Katrina storm surge in Biloxi. For a decade, he organized volunteers to help storm victims across the Gulf Coast. But the August flood gave them a new mission.

"We're neighbors, we're family," Wetzel said.

Those they were helping were more than grateful.

"They're saving me, and they've been wonderful," responded a thankful Kannon. "I'm so grateful for their help. I don't know what I would have done. I've been trying to do it myself."

Volunteers could not believe the damage still there.

"The damage was unreal to me, not only physically but emotionally," said Steven Bruno.

Bruno is from Long Island and is a repeat volunteer with New Life Disaster Relief.

"It's been challenging at times, but it's been nothing less than a blessing," Bruno said.

New Life Disaster Relief needs volunteers, more volunteers, and that's just one of the things because there is so much work to be done here.

"We need prayer, we need materials, we need labor, and we need finances," Wetzel said.

Kannon is hoping to move back into her trailer by Christmas.

To volunteer with New Life Disaster Relief or make donations, call them in Biloxi at 1-228-596-0390, or visit their website at http://www.newlifedisasterrelief.org.