Surviving the high winds and high water that Hurricane Katrina brought five years ago this week was an ordeal for countless Gulf Coast families, but Jay W. Hosty – a man who lost his home and his truck to the storm – does not spend time feeling sorry for himself.
This past weekend, instead of attending events to mark Katrina’s five-year anniversary, Jay and his wife Katt decided to get away from the Gulf Coast and take in a couple of vacation days at the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas.
“Yesterday was just another day for us. We were driving back from Dallas, and we didn’t really say much about it,” Jay, a lifetime OOIDA member and former resident of Lakeshore, MS, told Land Line on Monday, Aug. 30.
“It’s in our past now,” he said. “That’s a marking date. Either things were before Katrina, or after Katrina, and that’s how a lot of people look at things down here – with time.”
Things were frightening for a time. The storm saw the Hostys and others scrambling for higher ground in a church attic as the water level rose in the stairway. When they returned to their property, life as they knew it had changed; but their spirits had not.
Less than a year after the storm waters receded, Jay had his family in a new home in nearby Diamondhead and he was back on the road with Jaybird Express.
“It’s not a big deal anymore, really,” he insists.
“We got through it, and we’ve been back to our normal lifestyle for quite a while now. Just moving right along. You know?”
The Hostys’ story is one of survival but it is not without loss.
“The biggest loss for us was photographs,” said Jay. “We couldn’t replace those. We’re going on 29 years marriage, so that was 24 years back then. We had a lot of photographs of life all the way up; kids growing up and all that. No money can buy the pictures back, and that’s probably what we miss the most.”
Jay Hosty is a man of faith. He says his family’s prayers and faith helped get them through the terrifying ordeal and the strength to rebuild in the aftermath.
“The first year was more life changing, when you’re really right in the middle of it,” he said.
“But every year after that has been better. That’s just part of our past, and we’re moving forward.”
– By David Tanner, associate editor