GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - A Harrison County teen, who after Hurricane Katrina inspired us to do more to help those in need, says he's continued his community service over the years. Four years ago, Kegan Wood spent day after day volunteering at a distribution site. National guardsmen who were so impressed by his work ethic dubbed him the "Mini-Marine".
Back in 2005, a 12-year-old Kegan was busy helping load food, water and other supplies into the vehicles of Katrina victims. He said helping others kept his mind off how Katrina destroyed his family's home.
"We lost our trailer. Three trees fell on it," he told WLOX. "But, we're not thinking about the bad side we're thinking about the good things. "
Four years later, Kegan says he still tries to focus on the good. The 17-year-old often volunteers at Feed My Sheep soup kitchen in Gulfport.
"Community service is the best thing anyone can do," he said. "I encourage anyone to do it. You are actively involved in your community. That you're actively helping, making it better."
He says the time he spent working alongside the National Guard after Katrina had a big impact on his life.
"It showed me that no matter how bad your situation may be there is always someone else who could be worse," he said. "Even though you may be having a hard time there is always room to help."
About a week ago, Kegan graduated from the Youth Challenge Academy at Camp Shelby. His mother says he went because the structured environment allowed him to stop taking his A.D.H.D. medication.
His mother, Lynda Favre, said, "His goal was to be in the Marine Corps and he knew the only way he'd be able to make to that goal was to go in to Camp Shelby to go to the Academy recruiting. He also got 15 college credits, high school diploma, an award for an essay that he wrote. He's just excelled."
His hard work is paying off. Kegan has a scholarship to William Carey University and plans to join the military.
"He's had a tough road, basically, but he has turned it all around. He's focused and he's determined," said Favre. "He is the Mini-Marine, growing up."
Kegan Wood says he still has dreams of being a Marine but plans to initially enlist in the Air Force and train as a Radar Operator.
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