A Testament to Resiliency and Tenacity

Q & A with Jen Nash, HandsOn Network's Senior Manager Affiliate Corporate Engagement
 
Jen Nash joined the HandsOn Network team nine years ago after Hurricane Katrina devastated her home town of New Orleans. In honor of the 10th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, Jen shares some of her reflections from the last 10 years with us.  
 
What motivated you to join HandsOn Network?
As a native of New Orleans and working in the nonprofit sector, I was ʺcalledʺ to work on the rebuilding of my hometown when I saw the position opening at HandsOn Network's Disaster team. Although I haven't lived in New Orleans since 1992, it's still the place where my parents and other family members live. And just the thought of not being able to ʺgo homeʺ again was pretty scary, so I know I needed to get involved in some capacity. It was one of the best career decisions I made.
 
After 10 years, what are you most proud of? 
Working for HandsOn Network, I served as the project manager between our incubated Affiliates, HandsOn Gulf Coast and HandsOn New Orleans, and the national HandsOn Network office. There were so many rewarding moments in the two years I worked directly with those Affiliates, but what stands out the most to me is the way the cities embraced volunteers from all over the world and how those volunteers have left a mark on New Orleans and Mississippi Gulf Coast. What amazes me most is how many of them who never thought about living in that part of the U.S. made the courageous decision to stay and start lives and families there. It speaks to how New Orleans and the Gulf Coast lives within you.
 
What role did volunteers played in helping the Gulf Coast recover? 
I've had the firsthand experience of watching a volunteer movement in action. Much like many defining moments in U.S. history, it took the work and dedication of thousands of men, women and children to help rebuild the affected areas. Although there is some work left, the bulk of the accomplishments in the early stages was completed by volunteers.
 
It was because of the hard work of the volunteers that the citizens of New Orleans and Mississippi were able to pick up the ball and keep rolling. What seemed like an insurmountable task on August 29, 2021 became a testament of resiliency and tenacity over the past 10 years. 
 
This post is part of HandsOn Network’s Katrina10 series, commemorating the 10th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Read the full series and share your own story here