BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Hundreds of people in South Mississippi didn't show up for work Wednesday morning. Instead, they volunteered their time giving back to the community.
More than 200 people were involved in the United Way's annual Day of Caring. This year's event was named in memory of Leo Seal Jr., the longtime Hancock Bank executive and local leader who died last year.
"We are pulling weeds and planting flowers," said Jessica Crosby, as she and others from Coast Young Professionals did some planting and pulling at the sculpture garden just west of the Biloxi lighthouse.
"It's so important for us to give back to the coast. We have such a large group of young professionals on the coast and we wanted to let them know we support them like they support us," Crosby said.
Andy Davis and his co-workers from Treasure Bay Casino Resort spent the morning in "assembly mode" at Moore Community House in East Biloxi.
"We're putting together cribs, baby cribs. Also some strollers," Davis said. "We've got a few other projects we plan to do before the end of the day."
"It's always good to get out in the community and help where we can. So, we're just glad to be a part of United Way and with Moore Community House," he added.
We found Julie Tate lifting roof decks in North Gulfport.
"Nails, hammers. They set us loose," she said, smiling.
Tate and her fellow employees traded their normal hospital jobs and became home builders for a day with Habitat for Humanity.
"We're out here with Garden Park and various other civic groups to support the Leo Seal Day of Caring with United Way. As a community hospital, we think it's very, very important for us to get involved and get out and help the community," Tate said.
The volunteers, who traded their medical jobs for some hands on home building, said it was a day of labor, well spent.
Amanda Arriaga said she liked handling the power tools and liked the good feeling of giving back to the community.
"Absolutely. My hands hurt a little bit, but it's great to get out of the office and really do something for the area and the community here," she said.
Those 200 volunteers worked on a variety of projects involving 19 different non-profit agencies in South Mississippi.