Capt. George Spivey's life and livelihood have been entirely built on the southern Louisiana waters. As a captain with High Water Charters and the owner of High Water Fishing Lures, he had a thriving life on the sea with a setup at Bobby Lynn's Marina.
But with the arrival of Hurricane Ida, those same waters claimed all that Capt. George Spivey had built over the years. The lifelong bayou resident watched his businesses and his possessions thrashed by the Category 4 hurricane, but before he could move an inch to take care of his own needs, he moved miles to take care of others.
"I lost my business down there, so now all I have to do is this," he told AccuWeather National Reporter Jillian Angeline.
Now at Lighthouse Worship Center in Galliano, Louisiana, Spivey has a new setup: taking care of his tattered community.
Capt. Spivey spoke with AccuWeather's Jillian Angeline in front of the contributed supplies he organized at Lighthouse Worship Center in Galliano, Louisiana. (AccuWeather / Jillian Angeline)
Spivey told Angeline that it didn't take long for him to jump into action, and he credits his faith for spurring him toward the needs of others.
"Went home, God put on my heart to get back down here with my resources to set up a distribution center here at Lighthouse Worship Center in Galliano," he said. "We pulled a team together with the people that goes to church here. There's just been steady donations, donations upon donations, bringing it in."
Part of Spivey's urgency to help has been fueled by his worry for the people of the region, particularly that they may soon be forgotten.
As he has certainly seen firsthand, Ida left behind more than a weekend's worth of cleanup work.
"The only fear I have is here in a few weeks this is going to stop and the people are going to be in so much need," he said. "This is going to take a year - a year! - for these people to even come close to recovering."
Spivey urged people from around the country to imagine returning to their home and finding it empty. No air conditioning for the brutal Southeast heat, no windows to keep the bugs out, no safe conditions to sleep in at night.
It was that brokenness that he saw all around him that stopped him from focusing on his own sorrow.
"I'm not cleaning up [my mess]," he said. "You've got people here in this community that are sleeping under lean-tos, that are sleeping in houses that are unsleepable. I don't know what else to do other than just come down here and let God just open doors and lead my footsteps to help people."
To those who question why the people didn't leave before the storm, Spivey had a simple response: Leave and go where?
"You have so many people like one guy who asked me, 'Why didn't they go out of town to family?'" he said. "Well, their family lives here, they have nowhere to go but right here."
He credited Lighthouse Worship Center Pastor Dwayne Malone for opening up his congregation for Spivey's distribution work. There, Spivey said he has found a group of giving people who have jumped at the opportunity to help and give resources to those trying to get back on their feet.
But to Angeline, he reiterated the need for that support to continue for months, if not years, even after the news of Ida gets replaced in the news cycle.
"You don't hear about this on the news no more," he said. "We need people to come down here and help these people get back on their feet. Not for a month, it's going to take a year, two years maybe. People have got to take care of each other."
How can you help those on the Gulf Coast impacted by Hurricane Ida. Click here for a few ideas.
Reporting by Jillian Angeline.
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