Hurricane Refugees in Region 8 Prepare To Go Home

September 16, 2004 -- Posted at 7:06 p.m. CDT

JONESBORO -- Hurricane Ivan refuges breathed sighs of relief Thursday morning as they made their first phone calls to friends and family they left behind.

"Everyone is all right, we didn't have any damage to our home," said Anne Nye from south Mississippi.

"It's wonderful New Orleans didn't get hit that bad, there was no loss of life and the power is back on at the house," said Helen Dennings of New Orleans.

A number of people did not have cell phone service, so several Jonesboro businesses teamed up to assist them with the Hurricane Hotline. The Hotline crew sat up at 6 a.m. in the Pizza Inn parking lot on Phillips Drive. Refuges were able to make free long distance phone calls while enjoying free food and drinks.

"It's been neat to see how some of these people are grateful for a telephone call, that's really a reality check," said David Mclain, Alltel District Manager.

"It made me feel good. Everybody I talked to today was so grateful," said EddieWolffard, Pizza Inn Manager.

After knocking out power to more that 1.5 million homes and businesses the remains of Hurricane Ivan are moving inland. Most people who rode out the storm in Region 8 are making plans to return home. Many people expressed gratitude for the hospitality they received here in Arkansas.