Across a five mile stretch of Constance Beach McNeese student Marcie Michalko was one of many people who gave up their Saturday to plant more than 60-thousand plugs of grass.
The event --sponsored by CITGO and the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana-- is a way to commemorate the 10 year anniversary of Hurricane Rita while protecting homes along the beach.
A call to action drawing volunteers from Texas, Ohio and Oregon.
"Being around all the people and seeing everyone else just coming to help like that's the beauty of it,” Michalko said. “That's what makes everything worthwhile."
For Clair Marceaux, director of economic development for the Cameron Parish Police Jury, it's personal. Born and raised in Cameron Parish she said her family was hit hard by the storm.
"Everyone in my family lost their homes, their businesses and their way of life. We lost our post offices, our churches,” she said. “A lot of us had to move away. Many of us have returned home but there's still lots of people who I think want to come back."
With every plug she plants it's more than just grass but an investment in the future of a community she loves.
"Being here and doing this kind of work makes me physically feel good. It's hot and it's sweaty and it's sticky and nasty but inside it's amazing to be out here in this really relaxing environment and get to do something that helps the entire region of Southwest Louisiana," Marceaux said.
A region torn apart by a storm-- but 10 years later-- united in an effort to restore.