At 4pm today, Buffalo will welcome a very special guest. His name is Robert Green and he is a survivor of Hurricane Katrina. Not only is Robert a survivor, he’s a man on a mission, to tell his incredible story to those who are looking for inspiration in places and circumstances that might not be readily apparent. Robert’s journey began out of desperation, but through plenty of soul searching he has found that his life altering story has the ability to influence others in ways that he never imagined possible.
During the hurricane, Robert was able to gain access to the roof of his mother’s house, where his family found temporary shelter from the storm. There he stood, along with six family members, hoping that the rooftop would be their salvation. It was not. The house broke free from its foundation and floated away. Not even forming a “human chain” would protect the family from what was to come. Robert’s family was clinging to the rooftop when his mother and granddaughter were swept away. Over the course of the next seven hours, a mostly African American lower/middle class neighborhood was leveled by the storm.
Most people would abandon hope right then and there. But instead, Robert came out fighting, and is now in the process of helping to rebuild the 9th Ward, with the help of a number of heavy hitting partners, including film superstar Brad Pitt. Even Buffalo’s own Ani DiFranco has found solace and strength in lending her body and spirit to rebuilding efforts in New Orleans.
Today Robert is considered the most famous resident of the city. His nickname, “Rooftop Rider” resembles his heroic nature, but at the end of the day it is the tragedy of the city, and the lives lost, that energizes Robert to move forward with these speaking engagements.
In a world that appears to be full of tragedies, sometimes taking the time to listen to those who have overcome seemingly impossible situations is the best way to cope with adversity.
The Canisius College Office of Campus Ministry will welcome Robert Green on Tuesday, November 17 at 4:00 p.m., as part of its Ignatian Values in Action lecture series. Green’s lecture will take place in the college’s Christ the King Chapel. The event is free and open to the public. For more information on Robert Green’s visit to Canisius, contact the Canisius College Office of Campus Ministry at 716-888-2875.