A LETTER FROM MISSISSIPPI

I HAVE OFTEN HEARD that the Chinese symbol for the word crisis means, in part, "opportunity"—opportunity for learning and growth. I have kept this idea in mind as I continue to find my own footing on the "shifting sand"—a city recovering from crisis—that I now call home.

Two months prior to Hurricane Katrina, I sought refuge from the harsh winters of my native Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and moved to Hernando County 50 miles north of Tampa on Florida's west coast. Bracing for my first hurricane season, I joined the local United Way as a disaster response team member and community volunteer. I am a building contractor and realtor, but even so, the "opportunities" since August 29, 2005,—the day Katrina hit—have proved daunting and seemingly endless.

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