CATAHOULA PARISH (KNOE 8 News) - While the focus of the Deepwater Horizon accident has shifted to "clean-up," families and friends of oil rig workers are picking up the pieces after the gulf explosion claimed 11 lives.
Many of those workers live right here in the ArkLaMiss. In Catahoula Parish an entire community has mixed emotions from a disaster they will never forget.
"Hope" was the theme of last week's sermon at Lismore Baptist Church in Jonesville. This week was no different.
"We're definitely relieved that Wyman made it home safe and that he's back," Church Pastor Stan Wyant said. "I'm surprised that he's back at church this early."
Wyant was relieved to see rig worker Wyman Wheeler back at Sunday services. He went through several surgeries after he was injured in the deadly oil rig explosion nearly two weeks ago.
"The community was very much concerned," Wyant said. "It was very much turmoil around here."
Wheeler is just one of three rig workers on the Deepwater Horizon that live in the Catahoula Parish Community, and their families live just miles apart from each other. He and Chad Murray escaped the explosion.
They now cope with the loss of their friend Wyatt Kemp, one of the eleven still presumed dead after search parties were called off.
"All the guys that survived will have emotional suffering that they'll go through," Wyant said. "They'll start wondering why they were spared and somebody else died."
Wyant said one way the church is helping to ease the pain for friends and family is through "prayer chains" via text messaging, which they also used to gather information as the disaster unfolded.
"We do that to let people know we're praying for them," Wyant said. "That way we kind of also help people to not listen to rumor."
This Sunday, Wyant preached about suffering too. He believes that, although this is a day to rejoice, a time of mourning has just begun.
Two workers in Tensas Parish were also affected by the rig explosion. Donald Clark is one of the 11 men missing, and is presumed dead. Alonzo Petty is one of the survivors of the blast.