Constructing a new life

Gavin Jackson

Photos by Gavin Jackson


Seeing devastation and despair every day for six days was not how I pictured spending my Spring Break. But going down to the Mississippi coast, which seven months after the worst natural disaster in American history still looks like a third-world country, has been the most intense assignment I have taken on in my photographic career.

Everywhere the scenes were depressing. However, for more than 400 students, volunteers and citizens, those feelings did not control them; it enabled them to help the victims.

Creating this opportunity for Kent State students to help was a tribute to what this university stands for and can offer.

Sure there were drawbacks, such as 20-plus-hour bus drives and bugs, but in the end they didn’t even compare to the problems of the citizens of the region. When you’re roofing a house one day and picking up shingles from a destroyed house the next, you can’t help but feel grateful for what you have. Suddenly the lines for the showers and food are no longer worth complaining about when you realize how much these people have lost.

What I took away from this assignment was how truly awesome the power of being an American can be. I realized that sometimes the government is not there for you and you have to depend on your fellow citizens for help. Be grateful for what you have and give as much as you can to your fellow man.

Gavin Jackson