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Computers Help Raleigh's Evacuees Find Lost Loved Ones

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Kevin Miller is searching for the love of his life.

She is out there somewhere, says Miller, one of about 385 people evacuated from the Gulf Coast to Raleigh this week. He thinks the love of his life, Melissa McClure, is at a shelter in Houston.

In an instant, the two were separated at the Louisiana Superdome and sent to higher ground in different parts of the country.

"I haven't forgotten about you," Miller writes in an e-mail message to McClure. "Don't ever think that."

Miller, a pastry chef from New Orleans, is using a computer at the Wake County Hurricane Disaster Victim Center to try and connect with McClure at a time when he feels so disconnected.

"Right now, I miss her. I really miss my angel," Miller says. "That's what's keeping me going right now. Putting my life together so I can be with her."

He is certain McClure will find a way to check her e-mail.

Just about every evacuee at the relief center has a heartbreaking story. While some are using newly installed computers at the old Nortel Networks training facility to find jobs, many are desperately trying to find loved ones.

Andrew Netter is on a desperate search, too. He is checking missing persons Web sites looking for his common law wife, Brenda Cunningham.

"She weighs about 130 pounds," Netter tells a fellow evacuee helping him with the computer.

Cunningham left with her kids before Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. Netter, a recycling plant worker, stayed behind.

"They don't know if I'm living or dead," Netter says. And he says he does not know if they are OK.

He hopes Cunningham will search for him on the Internet so that they can one day be together again.

"As long as they know I'm living and safe," Netter says. "Even if it takes six months to a year, I can always see her. We can wait."

The computers are also being used for people to look for jobs.

One woman today, who was in Nursing School in New Orleans, was online researching local nursing schools. She hopes she can still get her degree.


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