Posted on FB first, but the videos are so moving, we will repost here:
As we all look back ten years at Hurricane Katrina, I highly encourage you to watch these videos on the storm. They feature my friend Diane Pontius Brugger and her heroic story. Her husband was killed, her business and home destroyed. She argues she just hung on to a tree but that took great courage. Incredible courage.
A lesser person would have given up. Try to imagine it: you are in a tree, in the dark, water all around you, the Gulf of Mexico now surrounding what only minutes before had been your life. Your husband dead, your life in shambles. But she hung on. And not only then but over the years following.
We had the great fortune of meeting her on a trip down to work with Randy's Rangers in Pass Christian. We were cutting trees (I think for her neighbor first?) when she offered us something to drink and I think cookies. She was (and is) just as nice a person as I had ever met (for those who have been on other trips imagine Georgia from Tuscaloosa or Beverly Twitty from Olean and you have an idea of how kind and loving a person we are talking about).
When she found out we were staying in large tents, she offered her own rooms and shower/bath. We had a late night bon fire on her grounds with some of the branches we had cut earlier. We played with her dogs--especially her large and very playful dog (I think named Ivan). And remember, she didn't know us.
She did rebuild and now runs a B&B in Pass Christian. In this video she is interviewed by Robin Roberts and in the second video she is interviewed by a local reporter at Thursday's screening of the ABC video that aired last night.
And a personal note to Diane, thank you. Your kindness and courage in the aftermath of the storm was a high point of our many trips to the Gulf. I remember volunteers at our then nightly all-hands meetings (Reflections) telling and retelling stories of your generosity and how much it meant for them.
In the video you humbly say you are not a hero as all you did was hang on to two trees. I would argue you are a hero and rolemodel (#rolemodelhero) not only for mustering the courage to hang on when letting go would have been so easy, but also for your life since.
You have shown us all, that life does go on and that kindness and a good attitude can overcome much. You have done this in a manner that also reminds us to honor and never forget what we have lost, but to not let those losses drag us down as well.
Thank you Diane, your example tells a story we all need to know.