Gustav evacuees still stuck in OKC

Friday, September 12th 2008, 11:39 pm
By: News 9

By Colleen Chen, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Just two weeks ago, Hurricane Gustav sent more than 15000 evacuees to the Oklahoma City Evacuation Center, but one couple is still stranded in OKC.

They travelled 1300 miles over 20 hours to get to Oklahoma, and at the time they thought it was a long wait. More than a week later, Marlo Gray and his wife are still waiting to go home.

When Hurricane Gustav threatened Lake Charles, Lousiana, Gray and his wife found themselves on a bus like hundreds of others headed for Oklahoma City.

"You put a blind man on a bus, how's he gonna use his cane?" Gray asked.

The couple spent 11 hours waiting in line to get registered. Once inside the shelter, Gray came to an uneasy realization: The cots and people created a maze of confusion.

"It was like I was in the jungles of Vietnam, lost, don't know what's around me," the Gustav evacuee said. "You just walk around and have tears in your eyes."

It was not long after when life threw him another obstacle.

"Once we got processed in, I had a heart attack," Gray said.

When the buses left to go back last week, doctors said ‘absolutley not,' and to top it off, someone took Gray's walking cane.

"I was heartbroken. I'm still heartbroken. I want to go home," Gray said.

Now the issue is Hurricane Ike, preventing Gray and his wife from heading home. FEMA only added to the problems by giving Gray food kits too high in sugar and carbohydrates for a diabetic.

In spite of it all, he's grateful to the local volunteers who have tried to help.

"Ya'll call yourself ‘Oklahomans' right? Well you are beautiful people," Gray said.

Gray also lost his pet dog along the way. He's hoping to find him when he returns to Lake Charles.

He'll have to wait till Ike passes, but even so, he doesn't know how he's going to get back home.

The Oklahoma League for the Blind is helping Marlo Gray and his wife, but the League needs the community's support. If you would like to help, you can contact OLB at 405 232-4644 or visit the OLB Web site.