BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - By Jessica Bowman – email
BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - A Biloxi family is closer to having a permanent home thanks to 120 members of International Relief and Development. The diverse group of volunteers began construction on the home in Woolmarket for a family that's been displaced since Hurricane Katrina.
The volunteers hail from 40 different countries, places as far away as West Africa, Cambodia, Indonesia, and Serbia. All are excited to be part of a new beginning for a Biloxi family.
"We are helping an American family to come back to their home after Katrina. When I heard I will come here and do this work, I was just amazed," said Slavenko Djokaic.
Djokaic helped drive nails into the wood that will become the walls surrounding and protecting a family of 14.
"I'm just happy and delighted I can come back and give it back, at least, you know, to one family. Because I know what it means when you don't have your home and you cannot come to your home and sleep in your home," said Djokaic.
Lumber was cut and the floor to the front porch was put in like a puzzle, piece by piece. It's just like President of IDA, Arthur Keys, described the work the group continues to do on the coast.
"As we all know, recovery is a long term project and people need to have housing, they need to have safe housing," said Keys.
IRD volunteers said this project is more than just about constructing a home, it's about rebuilding lives at the same time.
"We're building a great team here and at the end of the day, we'll have a finished home for this family," Keys said.
"This is, you know, for me, is a great opportunity. And I can just say I'm happy I can give my contribution to this," Djokaic said.
While some worked on the main building project, others helped add curb appeal by manicuring small flower gardens and trimming trees in the front yard.
The outside of the house was finished Tuesday night. The family's furniture and appliances still have to be put inside before they can move in.