The audience at the city of Edmonds’ “Hope Beyond the Storm” benefit concert Friday, June 9, at Holy Rosary Church was small in number but big on generosity toward a family whose home was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.
An audience of about 250 people dropped $4,180 in the offering plates at Holy Rosary Church to assist a retired couple in Edmonds’ adopted city of Bay St. Louis, Miss. With another $1,400 that came in post-concert, Edmonds surpassed by $700 its goal of raising $25,000 for George and Rayceille McCullum, said Linda Carl, executive assistant to Edmonds Mayor Gary Haakenson.
The event was organized by city and area church officials.
The retired couple, whose house is being rebuilt by volunteers using donated funds, were flown to Edmonds for the concert with the mayor and his wife, Dolly, paying for the ticket. Harbor Inn donated the lodging for the couple.
The McCullums also visited Port Townsend for a potluck meal with residents who helped with hurricane relief in Mississippi.Also honored at the concert that featured the multi-church Mosaic Choir and Edmonds-Woodway High School Wind Symphony and Jazz Combo, were Ben Hines and his wife, Aleana Waite, of Seattle. Hines spent several months as a volunteer worker in Bay St. Louis and was instrumental in linking Edmonds with the McCullums. Waite lost both her parents when they drowned in their Bay St. Louis home from hurricane-related flooding.
“There is hope beyond the storm,” Hines told the crowd, echoing the evening’s theme. “But it’ll take a sense of (being) open to the power of connection and relation.”
George McCullum told the crowd, “I appreciate everything that’s been handed down to us.” After the concert, Rayceille McCullum hugged well-wishers and repeatedly whispered, “Thank you, thank you, thank you.”