Lions safety Quin sees Katrina parallel in Flint

Josh Katzenstein
The Detroit News

Living in Houston after the Lions season ended, Glover Quin didn’t know much about the water crisis in Flint until his wife mentioned it to him last week.

When he found out Flint residents were living without clean water, the Lions safety wanted to help because he knows what it’s like to live without a full complement of essential resources.

In 2005, Quin was living at home in Summit, Mississippi, when Hurricane Katrina destroyed much of the Gulf Coast. He was a sophomore Southwest Mississippi Community College, where he played before transferring to New Mexico, and living with 13 other people — his parents, three sisters, two of his sisters’ husbands and six of his sisters’ children.

For about two weeks, the Quin household didn’t have water or electricity. His house avoided major destruction, but he had to watch as the hurricane uprooted trees and demolished other nearby homes.

After hearing about the lead-contaminated water in Flint, Quin and some of his fellow defensive backs are donating about 36,000 bottles of water.

“A lot of people may feel like the situation is too big for them to where their one little step or their one little thing may not help, but you just never know what one donation or your one case of water could mean to somebody,” he said in a phone interview Thursday. “I remember back in 2005 when we were going through Hurricane Katrina, when you came across one bag of ice, you were very, very, very excited because ice was hard to come by. And whenever you got that one bag of ice, regardless of where it came from, you were happy and you made the most of it.

“So, to be in a situation where you don’t have clean water to take a bath, to cook, to drink, all those things; if you get one case of water … one 12-pack or whatever is very, very helpful. So, anybody and everybody can help out.”

After his wife told Quin about the problem in Flint last Wednesday, the Lions helped him connect with United Way in Genesee County. He reached out to his fellow defensive backs, and Don Carey, Josh Wilson, Nevin Lawson, Quandre Diggs and Alex Carter agreed to assist with the donation.

Last Friday, several Lions defensive linemen, including Ziggy Ansah and Haloti Ngata, as well as running back Joique Bell combined to donate 94,000 bottles of water to Flint through SpartanNash grocery distributor. Lions legend Billy Sims is holding a water drive at his restaurants in Royal Oak, Southfield and Troy starting Saturday to donate to United Way, too.

“It’s only right that we try to help out any way we can,” Quin said.

After Hurricane Katrina struck, Quin remembers being in line for hours for gas and then seeing the gas run out.

He’d go to Walmart and see the water or bread shelves empty, and he’d look for any place to charge his cell phone for a couple hours.

He even recalled overhearing a story about a man killing his sister over a bag of ice, something that happened in Hattiesburg about 80 miles west of Summit. So, Quin said he can definitely sympathize with people in Flint whose resources are scarce.

“It’s really sad, man, to think in America right now we can be dealing with this with water,” he said.

“I know in some countries drinking water is very hard to come by, but for most people in America, clean water is probably one of your least worries.

“For something not to get done and for this to be going on, I don’t really know all the politics of it or all the things of that nature, but I just know it’s not right. And so something has to be done, and hopefully something will.”