Meet Kendra Kinnison
● By Kylie Cooper
Conversation by: Kylie Cooper Photos by: Rachel Benavides
Tell me a little bit about Royal Resilience.
Royal Resilience tells the story of Port Royal's journey through Hurricane Harvey, from the decision making in the days just before the storm to the one-year anniversary. It details our crisis management, community service, training program, leadership development, and physical rebuilding.
What was the initial inspiration to write the book?
We realized that we had to. It became important to our healing. When we realized that the recovery process would be much harder and much longer than we ever expected, we knew that we'd need to find ways to celebrate the milestones and keep our meaning and purpose in front of us.
What type of Challenges did you face when writing the book?
Two big ones stand out. First, my memories were a mess. I would often remember things out of sequence. And, the emotional heaviness of reliving those days. My keyboard was often covered in tears. I'm still in awe of my team.
The book's structure is primarily done through time stamps, emails, journal-like entries, and Facebook posts. Why did you decide to format the story in this way?
The documentary style felt like the only way to tell the story in an authentic way. Because communications had been so limited after the storm, we had to find creative ways to get messages out. So we had lots of lengthy emails and videos. Combine that with faulty memories, and it made sense for those "in-the-moment" documents to be the backbone of the book.
What do you hope this book does for the community and anyone who reads it?
I hope it reminds us all that we're stronger than we think. I hope it shows us the incredible power of faith and teamwork. And, I hope folks realize that the recovery process is still on-going. Not only was Port Royal damaged significantly, a third of our employees were displaced. The personal toll is significant. Lots of grace, patience, and love is still needed along our coast.