[ IN THE MILITARY ]
DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Staff Sgt. Carl Barton, with his wife, Amanda, and their sons, from left, Dakota, Blake and Logan, moved to Schofield Barracks from North Carolina in late September. Their belongings sat in New Orleans floodwaters for weeks after Hurricane Katrina hit.
Family's storm-damaged crate found
Their stuff appears ruined, so the Barton clan appreciates help
A shipping container with most of a Schofield Barracks family's possessions that was feared lost in Hurricane Katrina has been located.
But it's likely very little can be salvaged. The container apparently sat in floodwaters in New Orleans for two weeks.
Army Staff Sgt. Carl Barton and his wife, Amanda, will get a chance to see what's left when the container arrives in Honolulu next week.
Environmental health and port authorities will have to decide how to handle the container when it gets here, said Ku'u Park, a spokesman for Horizon Lines, which is responsible for ocean shipment of the container. He said it appears that New Orleans authorities are trying to clear out the train yards of stuff that has been there since the storm.
The Bartons know they'll have to replace most of their things, but are still hoping a few sentimental items might be OK.
"If there's one corner of the crate (that wasn't damaged), there's the hope I can get one thing out of it," Amanda Barton said. "Even if they must destroy stuff, I'd like to see it first, just to have the closure."
The family relocated to Schofield Barracks in late September from Fort Bragg, N.C., but had shipped their furniture early in hopes of having it when they arrived. Instead, it was in New Orleans when Katrina made landfall Aug. 29.
Since a Star-Bulletin article last Sunday about the Barton family's situation, they've received some offers of furniture or other household items from Oahu residents. One offer that particularly touched Amanda Barton was from a photographer who will take photos of her three boys, ages 7, 4 and 22 months.
"People have been extremely kind," she said. While her family is appreciates offers of help, they want to accept only items that they need, she said.
Things they could use are a washer, dryer and king-size bed, plus household linens. Barton admitted that she has been daydreaming about a lighted, artificial Christmas tree to replace the one she had packed in the container.
Anyone who has items they would like to offer can contact the Bartons at email@example.com. Amanda Barton said reaching the family by e-mail will allow her to respond while taking care of her children, the youngest of whom has special needs, and insurance claims on the ruined furniture.
She said she fears the family was underinsured, because "I never dreamed in a million years that we'd have a total loss."