News: Katrina Samaritan Finds Shoe on Other Foot

By Howard Pankratz
The Denver Post
May 24, 2008

Chadd Bryant thought he would be used to it.

The Windsor resident had, after all, been to Bay St. Louis, Miss., nine times after Hurricane Katrina devastated that community.

And he went to Holly after its tornado.

In each place, he helped clean up, clearing out the muck and debris and rebuilding homes.

So when the tornado hit Windsor on Thursday, he was surprised by his reaction.

“I thought I would walk out there and be immune to it,” he said Friday. “But it was very emotional, more emotional than some of the trips to Mississippi.

“I was lost at times. I walked two blocks and didn’t recognize anything — the houses and the trees.”

He had spent Friday repairing his 1913 house in “old town” Windsor, putting shingles on the roof and siding on the outside, and sawing up the 100-year-old trees that the high winds had leveled in his yard.

Bryant, who owns a marketing company he operates from his home, describes himself as deeply religious. He said the reason he traveled to Mississippi and Holly is simple — his belief in God.

In one trip to Mississippi, he joined members of Denver’s Riverside Baptist Church to help the people of Bay St. Louis. In the more recent trips, he has taken 90 to 100 people on each trip to the Gulf Coast from Crossroads Church in Loveland.

On the trips, Bryant and the Colorado volunteers wore bright fluorescent green shirts.

Early Friday, he sent out a mass e-mail, asking his friends with the green shirts to come to Windsor to help the community.

Forty showed up.

Clad in their bright green colors, they stood out as they worked on 10 different homes in Windsor.

Bryant said the damage to his house was $25,000, but he said he will be OK.

As the day drew to a close Friday, Bryant allowed a church from southeastern Wyoming to pitch a huge Army tent in his front yard.

There, the church will serve 125 people three meals a day for the next five days.

“That is a lot of food,” said Bryant, thankful that he can give back to his community the same kind of help he has given others.