Port Townsend: Former residents recount struggle to escape flooded home

PORT TOWNSEND — For the past two decades, William Ayers has focused on creating a solid life for himself and his family.

One of his goals was to work to the top of his profession as a chef. He has overcome setbacks, strategized where to go and what to do, and worried about how to finance career moves.

Now, two weeks after Hurricane Katrina swept that life out from under his feet, he realizes that none of it was very important.

“You realize how simple life can be — friendship, family, sitting down and having a cup of coffee,” Ayers said. “It’s put a whole different spin on what we’ve been experiencing the last 20 years.”

Ayers and his family — wife Kim, daughters Victoria, 15, and Kayla, 12, two cats and two birds — arrived in town Saturday after escaping from their flooded home in Slidell, La.

On Sunday, the couple sat at the kitchen table at the home of their host family, Laurie and Bill Medlicott, and talked about how quickly a disaster can change a life and priorities.

“All you know is you have two kids who you have to get someplace warm and dry,” Kim Ayers said. “That’s all you care about.”

The family lived in Washington state for 10 years, the last five in Sequim when Ayers was employed as a chef at Fort Worden State Park in Port Townsend.

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