As the worst natural disaster in American history, Hurricane Katrina, roared into the Mississippi Gulf Coast, many first responders had to save themselves before they could save others.
"My husband was with Bay Police and had to find out I was hanging onto a bush," Waveland Police Department, Investigator Laura Stepro explained.
The memory is fresh for Waveland Police Investigator Laura Stepro and Sgt. Theresa Beeson.
"Rode out the storm in the back of a truck, me and Denise did, yeah, it was a big dodge truck and she was the Baptist and I was the Catholic and honey we kept it going, between my hail Mary's and her Holy Lord Jesus," Waveland Police Department, Sgt. Theresa Beeson added.
All 27 members of the Waveland Police Department rode out the storm, 12 on the Department's rooftop, two in the back of a pickup truck and, miraculously, 13 holding onto this red top bush.
"Nightmares, yes, many, many, recurring nightmares, you know. I talk to a lot of people and it all seems to be the same, you know, it was just an act of God that nobody can explain," said Chief James Varnell, Waveland Police Department.
Chief Varnell and his department spent three years after Katrina, working out of a trailer and a camper, until they moved into this new complex. It serves as a temporary base for several Waveland City government offices. After 5 years, work has finally begun on the new Waveland Police headquarters.
"This is where the new Waveland Police Department is being built. It's on McLaurin Street and as you can see, it's on higher ground and there's better drainage."
The old Waveland Police Department building is now just a vacant lot filled with memories.
As for that bush that saved so many first responder lives on that terrifying day in 2005, well, it's still here and it will likely stay here. That's because horticulture experts say to move it could, possibly, kill it.
Unfortunately, there is a pumping station underneath the vaunted bush.
"Actually the pumping station was there before the bush and it is so entangled in all that, that a horticulturist said most probably moving it would be detrimental to it, so what we hope to do is get some cuttings and plant plenty more bushes of that type," Chief Varnell added.
And hope that those bushes will never have to be used like they were that August morning in 2005 for seven incredibly horrifying hours.
"I don't think anybody was prepared for this, you know, as far as federal government, state government, but everybody got together and did what had to be done so, we're very fortunate that we didn't have a lot of lost life and we're very thankful for that."
@2010 WLBT. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Sunday, May 19 2013 10:35 PM EDT2013-05-20 02:35:37 GMT
Authorities have recovered the body of a 10-year-old boy who apparently drowned after an all-terrain vehicle overturned in a Mississippi creek. The search for the boy's younger brother continued Sunday. ColumbusMore >>
Authorities have recovered the body of a 6-year-old boy who apparently drowned after an all-terrain vehicle overturned in a Mississippi creek. The search for the boy's older brother continued Sunday.More >>
Monday, May 20 2013 11:17 AM EDT2013-05-20 15:17:56 GMT
A body discovered in Clinton Saturday night has led to a homicide investigation. Hinds County Coroner Sharon Grisham Stewart confirms a body was discovered, although few other details are known. The bodyMore >>
Clinton Police Department's Interim Chief Mike Warren said upon further investigation, it appears a disagreement over a woman may have led to the death of a Jackson man.
Sunday, May 19 2013 10:53 PM EDT2013-05-20 02:53:15 GMT
JPD searched a Jackson Home at 846 Brandon Ave., Saturday that netted four arrests, a variety of drugs and $1,500. "On May 18, 2013, The Jackson Police Department's Vice and Narcotics Unit responded toMore >>
JPD searched a Jackson Home at 846 Brandon Ave., Saturday that netted four arrests, a variety of drugs and $1,500.More >>
Friday, May 17 2013 7:16 PM EDT2013-05-17 23:16:53 GMT
One person has died in a crash near Harrisonville, MO, Thursday evening. The crash happened on Missouri Highway 7 and Walker Road. It involved a car and a tractor-trailer. Harrisonville is in Cass County.More >>
Savannah Nash celebrated her 16th birthday last week. She died Thursday when her car slammed into a semi while she was texting during her first time driving by herself.More >>
Saturday, May 18 2013 10:00 PM EDT2013-05-19 02:00:02 GMT
Observers are predicting a speedy confirmation to the federal bench for Jackson attorney Debra M. Brown. If confirmed, Brown would become the state's first black female district judge. Carl Tobias, aMore >>
Observers are predicting a speedy confirmation to the federal bench for Jackson attorney Debra M. Brown.More >>
With a bullet still in his body, the police officer who survived a showdown with the Boston Marathon bombing suspects says he's determined to return to duty.More >>
In a story May 19 about a Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority officer shot in a showdown with the Boston Marathon bombing suspects, The Associated Press incorrectly spelled the officer's last name. He is Officer...More >>
Wednesday, July 11 2012 6:10 AM EDT2012-07-11 10:10:08 GMT
(WMC-TV) – Dozens of police recruits were injured during training exercises last week and the heat could be to blame. The entire current class at the police academy filed paperwork claiming to be injuredMore >>
Dozens of police recruits were injured during training exercises last week and the heat could be to blame.More >>
It's all about the odds, and one lone ticket in Florida has beaten them all by matching each of the numbers drawn for the highest Powerball jackpot in history at an estimated $590.5 million, lottery officials...More >>
Some lucky person walked into a Publix supermarket in suburban Florida over the past few days and bought a ticket now worth an estimated $590.5 million - the highest Powerball jackpot in history.More >>
WLBT 3 - Fox 40
715 South Jefferson Street
Jackson, Mississippi 39201