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Camp Edwards Will Close To Evacuees At Week's End


BOSTON -- Camp Edwards is expected to close as a shelter for Hurricane Katrina evacuees by the end of the week.

NewsCenter 5's Amalia Barreda reported that officials say the evacuees are now ready to stand on their own after staying at the Cape Cod camp for more than a month.

Don Vavasseur, who made his living as a freelance photographer in New Orleans, said it is time to transition from evacuee to full-time resident. He has decided to stay on Cape Cod. With generous private donations of a truck and camera gear, he will leave Camp Edwards on Friday to an apartment in Chatham. Vavasseur admitted he feels pressure about his future, but knows he must move forward.

"Just the natural turn of life. You can't, at least I can't, sit around and be miserable about a disaster for long. Mother Nature decided to do this. There's nothing I can or any of us can do about that. You have to accept it, and I have," he said.

Of the 235 people who came to Camp Edwards, officials say about half have opted to go back to New Orleans and the other half have decided to make Massachusetts their new home. About 120 evacuees are still at Camp Edwards.

"I think they've been welcomed in a way that's certainly made them feel very comfortable here," said Rick O'Meara, of Massachusetts Health and Human Services.

Supporting the Hurricane Katrina evacuees has been a monumental effort by agencies that have come together at every level to meet everyone's needs. On Friday, they will be sent on their way to stand on their own like they did before the storm.

"They're ready to go and I'm prayerful that as we move forward in this that they will be able to do all that they should do," said the Rev. Jeffrey Brown, of the Union Baptist Church.
 
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