Hindu Motel Owner Helps Katrina Victims

September 14, 2005

Source: The Star-Herald


On September 14, 2005 The Star-Herald reported, "[Mukand Patel, owner of the Campbell Motel in Kosciusko], has been a beacon in a storm that continued well after [Hurricane Katrina] had passed... All 39 of the available rooms at the motel were filled with people fleeing the storm when it struck and at least 17 were still there this week... When the electricity was knocked out on the day of the storm, Patel and his wife Hasu -- who were fasting that day in accordance with their Hindu faith -- cooked a giant pot of rice pulav to feed all the guests. The next morning, they made coffee for everyone. The day after the storm, Patel gathered the guests together and told them they could stay as long as they needed -- just send him a check when they were able. Two days later, after some either went to where their homes had been or got word that their homes were destroyed, Patel announced that everyone could stay for free as long as they needed to. 'I told them I will not take any of their money,' he said. 'Some of them insisted, but they lost everything ... I can't take their money. God blessed Kosciusko to not receive much damage, so we're lucky to serve the people,' said Patel, who retired after 28 years as a 'plant doctor' for Mississippi State extension service and bought the motel in November 2001. 'God gave us an opportunity to serve and that's what we're trying to do.'"