I want to share a wonderful story about my good friend Tanya Sisk and her friend Minnie Kennedy, both from South Carolina.
Tanya worked with and helped Katrina evacuees who were sent to S.C., most notably three in particular who had been separated from their pets: Bill Hicks and Pam & Roland.
Pam has a seizure disorder and her dog Coco was trained to assist her; Tanya did everything possible to make sure that Coco was rescued. Tanya never gave up, and sent a third rescuer to the house who finally found the little dog that was trained not to bark. Once Coco was found, Tanya drove to New Orleans to pick her up and bring her back to Pam.
Bill Hicks had been back to New Orleans several times to look for his Concat but never found her and grew more and more despaired. Tanya drove Bill back to New Orleans to try one more time to rescue his cat from his locked house; this happened to be when the crew from the Nature Channel was in town to film pet rescue stories and Bill's tearful and joyful rescue of his beloved Concat is featured in their Katrina Animal Rescue documentary.
Tanya is good friends with her neighbor, 92 year old Minnie Kennedy, a former civil rights worker and grand-daughter of slaves. As soon as Obama was elected, Tanya began her quest to get Inauguration tickets, wanting to surprise Minnie with a trip to D.C. for the historic event. She made dozens of phone calls and her efforts were rewarded last month with a call from a Senator who sent her two seated tickets.
The following is from of one of the first of many newspaper articles written about Tanya and Minnie going to the Inauguration:
It has been more than 45 years since Minnie Kennedy, 92, of Georgetown stood on the mall in Washington, D.C., listening to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speak about his dream for America.
That was only one day after returning from Louisiana, where she learned first hand about the injustice of segregation. She and a group of volunteers -- who were teaching blacks about the Constitution so they could vote in the upcoming election -- were taking the day off, riding a ferry boat to New Orleans.
When she and some of the other blacks refused to separate from the rest of the group to go to the "colored" side, she teased the guard, who they thought was joking, calling him pink. Abruptly, the boat was turned around and, after the guard pressed charges, Kennedy and the other black volunteers were arrested and spent four days in jail.
She says she was so shaken from that experience, that she decided to return to her home in New York. However, after arriving at home, she decided to travel once again, this time with a church group, to Washington, D.C., for that well-known, historic speech.
"By the time that speech was over, I felt as free as I was before I went to Louisiana," Kennedy said.
The rest of that article as well as others plus videos are below: