Three years ago, Bob and Cindy Grefe were preparing to board a plane at the San Diego airport for a much-anticipated vacation in Cancun, Mexico.
   While standing in the security line, the couple ran into an old friend from South Mississippi who asked if they knew anyone interested in working on a government contract for Northrop Grumman.
   With Bob's 30-year background in the Navy, Cindy immediately volunteered her husband, partly because she always wanted to return to the area where she grew up.
   "I went to get a cup of coffee and by the time I came back, the deal was already worked out," laughed Grefe. "A month later, I was living down here."
   The Grefes lived in Ocean Springs for a year before another unexpected event changed their course once again.
   A friend asked if they would go real-estate shopping and while looking at homes in Gautier, they were drawn to a three-bedroom house surrounded by Live oaks facing the Singing River.
   Even though they were not looking to move, the Grefes made the purchase and moved in August 2004.
   "The house was just beautiful and the east side facing the river had all glass windows," he said. "I would get up and watch the sun come up and in the summer when the weather was nice, I would have a cup of coffee on the deck and see dolphins playing in the water."
   Although the Grefes were able to enjoy the riverfront place for only a year before Katrina hit, they are thankful for the short amount of time they called it home.
   The remains were torn down in March and construction costs and contractor issues have forced the couple to return to Ocean Springs.
   As of now, the lot is up for sale, but they have no plans of leaving Jackson County any time soon.
   "The people haven't changed and the area is still nice. We have all lost things, but we will rebuild and be as strong as ever," Bob said. "We count our blessings every day, and it's still a great place to live."