WCCO’s Jennifer Mayerle Shares Her Hurricane Katrina Story


WELCOME BACK EVERYBODY TO WCCO4 NEWS AT THE FAIR, THE FIRST DAY OF THE GREAT MINNESOTA GET TOGETHER. AS WE REFLECT ON THE WORST NATIONAL DISASTER, ONE OF HER OWN SHARES HER STORY. THERE WAS ONE MAN’S HEARTACHE DURING HURRICANE KATRINA, IT’S A PROMISE HE KEPT TO HIS LATE WIFE. SHE WAS SENT THERE TO CHASE THE STORM. HE RECALLS COVERING KATRINA AND A HE FRIENDSHIP PERFORMED. WE STARTED OUR COVERAGE IN PANAMA CITY FLORIDA, AS THE STORM TRACKED WEST SO DID WE. WE SPENT A HARROWING NIGHT IN PEARL RIVER LOUISIANA, THE AUGUST OF AUGUST 29TH, NO CELL SERVICE OR A WAY TO REACH OUR STATION OR FAMILIES. UNFORGETTABLE DRIVE TO BY LOCKSY MINNESOTA WHERE WE WOULD LEARN THE TRUE TOLL OF THE FAMILY. THEY WANDERED ON TO THE CREW OF THE GRANDSON RELIVING HOW THE HOME FLIGHT WILL SPLIT IN TWO. THE WALL OPENED UP IN TWO. WHO WAS WITH YOU? MY WIFE. SHE GONE. THANK YOU CAN’T FIND YOUR WIFE. NO, SHE TOLD — I TRIED. I HOLD HER HEAD AS TIGHT AS SHE COULD AND SHE TOLD ME, YOU CAN’T HOLD ME, TAKE CARE OF THE KIDS AND THE GRAND KIDS. WHERE ARE YOU GUYS GOING. WE DON’T GOT NOWHERE TO GO, I’M LOST, THAT’S ALL I HAD, THAT’S ALL I HAD. AS ONE ARTICLE WRITTEN ABOUT KATRINA SAID, JACKSON’S PERSONAL TRAGEDY BECAME THE SYMBOL OF THE SUFFERING FROM THOSE WHO SUFFERED IN KATRINA AND MILLIONS OF AMERICANS WITNESSED HIS PAIN, ONE THING NEVER WAIVERED HIS UNDYING LOVE FOR HIS WIFE AND HIS PROMISE TO TAKE CARE OF THE KIDS AND GRAND KIDS. SOON AFTER KATRINA, THEY BOUGHT THE FAMILY A HOME NEAR ATLANTA, GEORGIA. I MOVED NEAR THE WORK A SHORT TIME LATER. AND HARDY KEPT HIS PROMISE TO STRUGGLE TO KEEP ENDS MISS. HE LOST HIS 32-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER TO CANCER IN 2011. TO SEE YOUR KIDS FADE AWAY IN FRONT OF YOUR FACE, YOU KNOW, IT HURTS. HE CONTINUED TO RAISE HER TWO SONS CHRIS AND DION, THE ONES WHO WERE WITH HIM WHEN WE FIRST MET. AND IT’S A PROMISE HE KEPT AFTER HIS OWN LUNG CANCER DIAGNOSIS. IF I GO NOW, AT LEAST I DID DO SOMETHING RIGHT, YOU KNOW, I DIDN’T GIVE UP, I DIDN’T GIVE UP. HE SHARED WITH ME WHAT I WANTED FOR HIS KIDS AND GRAND KIDS, A BETTER LIFE, A LIFE WITHOUT STRUGGLE AND PAIN. IT’S WHAT HE STRIVED TO GIVE THEM. I WANT TO SEE THEM WITH A SMILE ON THEIR FACE YOU KNOW. HE DIED IN MARCH OF 2013, AT THE END HE KNEW HE MADE GOOD ON THAT PROMISE TO TAKE CARE OF THE KIDS AND THE GRAND KIDS. IT’S BECAUSE OF THAT CHRIS AND DION FOUND STRENGTH WITHIN THEMSELVES TO PUSH FORWARD TO FULFILL THEIR OWN HOPES OF DREAMS OF GRANDPARENTS AND MOTHER. CHRIS AND DION ARE THE FIRST TO GRADUATE FROM HIGH SCHOOL AND CHRIS JUST STARTED COLLEGE. HARDY JACKSON THE MAN WHO CAUGHT THE NATION’S ATTENTION WITH HIS ANGUISH AND DESPAIR IS PROOF THAT THROUGH THE TOUGHEST OF TIMES SOMETIMES LOVE% VEERS. JENNIFER TELLS US HE HOPES TO FOLLOW IN HIS OLDER BROTHER’S FOOTSTEPS, TO GO TO COLLEGE. AND JENN GETS MESSAGES

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