ROBERTSDALE, Ala. (WKRG) As the winds of Hurricane Ida tore through southern Louisiana, Forest LeMoine was in Houma watching and waiting. “There’s a lot of destroyed homes but were getting a lot of help and we were lucky in Houma. It could have been a lot worse for us than it was.”
For the last week and a half, the wind and rain have given way to hammers and chainsaws and a lot of help from surrounding communities like the day LeMoine was looking for food and got more than what he was searching for. “These people pulled up and said, Hey, could you use a cooler? Two soldiers from Mobile and they had this beautiful cooler all signed by the kids from Robertsdale.”
Softball Coach Payton Grantham says they were challenged by Orange Beach High School to pack and decorate what are called…Comeback Coolers. “We just kind of put their handprints all over it, let them sign their names. It was really a fun experience for us.” One of the 42 ice chests they sent to Louisiana was given to LeMoine.
“They had water and some fruit and some Cokes and variety of drinks and six beers,” he said with a chuckle. “I’ve been drinking those beers over the last week and it’s been wonderful.”
For LeMoine, it was just what he needed. “It touched me. I cried and I could cry right now. It was needed and to think some people thought of us.”
An exercise in paying it forward and a lesson that won’t be forgotten when the next storm hits says LeMoine. “If something happens to y’all, I hope it doesn’t but y’all live on the Gulf Coast, y’all can count on me coming and I’ll probably be bringing a cooler.”
Comeback Coolers is an idea that started in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, and has been in existence since 2016. They are active all along the Gulf Coast during disasters. Just a year ago, teachers in Robertsdale received coolers during Hurricane Sally. Another example of paying it forward.