Nicholas Wan is a sophomore at Seton Catholic Central High School who has invested much of his personal time to help improve the lives of others. During one week in late October, Nicholas missed school work and class time to help the rebuilding efforts in Gulf Port, MS. He exemplified his characteristics of leadership, dedication, and humbleness by paying his own way to spend 7 days sleeping in a tent working from 6am until the job was done, many times not until 8pm. He volunteered at the largest food distribution center in the Gulf Port area, assisting with the distribution of foods and personal products to a community devastated by Hurricane Katrina. He also helped at another local distribution center helping the communities in that area. Some of his most rewarding time was spent passing out free toys to school children and being able to make conversation with the countless people he encountered while working at the distribution centers.
One of the most physically and mentally demanding jobs he did was the clearing debris from the home that had been split in two and severely damaged by the massive storm surge. He helped strip down the house to the basic wood frame in 3 days, so that it could be built up once again. Afterwards the family was so thankful because the work he and his team provided saved them so much time, especially when time is so valuable because these people just want to try and return to their normal way of life that was taken from them. He toured local churches and witnessed the devastation first hand. It is one thing to see a house torn down, but what is more compelling is the affect it has on the family's involved. These people saw everything they knew as life taken away, and he tried his best to improve it.
He believed that his Faith called him to that area, and the volunteering affected him in ways that cannot be described in words. He left Mississippi with such a great feeling knowing that he directly helped the people most in need. He explained that when he gave of himself for others, he actually benefited from the experience in ways he never expected. It was a feeling of gratitude and happiness knowing that the work he was doing was taking a weight off the people's shoulders. He witnessed the destruction of Hurricane Katrina first hand and knew what it was going to take in order to help these people as well as organize the distribution center so it was in a position to meet the needs of the community. From the early morning till the late evening cars were lined up for their chance to get food and hygiene products for their families. No one was ever turned away and everyone's needs were satisfied and at the same time this Christian message was personified through his volunteer work. His Faith was never forced on anyone, but the people saw that it was evident through the work he was doing.