Employees give up day of work to give back to community

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - By Trang Pham-Bui – bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) – They are bankers, casino workers, and employees of major industries. On Wednesday, they gave up a day of work to take on some very different tasks.

For instance, the 12 volunteers at the Salvation Army in Gulfport are used to handling money every day. Instead, they picked up brooms and brushes to perform a labor of love.

"I love painting," one woman commented.

The employees work for Hancock Bank, and they left their jobs for the day to volunteer at The Salvation Army. Bank Trust Officer Stephanie Mitchell was sorting boxes of old toys for the nursery.

"We're cleaning the toys, organizing. They're painting right now," said Mitchell.  "So that way, when the children come back this week or next week, they have a clean environment to come to, clean toys to play with."

"They're going to bless many kids that come through our doors. We are so blessed to have all of them here," said Corps Officer Lt. Wendy Deuel.  "I'm so grateful that they are here. They are going to change many lives by just cleaning a place."

The volunteers had some other projects on their to-do list.  They also helped pressure wash the outside of the building and made about 250 Thanksgiving baskets for the needy.  The volunteers said it was their way of honoring the memory of former Hancock Bank President, the late Leo Seal Jr.

"He was a great man. I knew him personally," said Mitchell. "So anything I can do to continue that in his name, I feel honored."

The United Way of South Mississippi's Day of Caring is dedicated to Leo Seal. In all, 200-volunteers from ten businesses pitched in to carry on his legacy of giving.

Those companies are:

  • American Red Cross
  • American Medical Response
  • Charter Bank
  • Coast Electric
  • Hancock Bank
  • Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Biloxi
  • Lockheed Martin
  • Mississippi Power
  • Treasure Bay
  • Whitney Bank

"We have people hanging sheet rock. We have people landscaping in public places in Biloxi, like Hiller Park and a Katrina Sculpture Garden," said Hannah Bell, Marketing Director for the United Way of South Mississippi. "There is tremendous need in our community right now for volunteers. Just get out there and you can make a difference in someone's life."

This year, the United Way of South Mississippi actually hosted three Days of Caring, instead of just one. The next day to volunteer is this Friday in Pearl River County.

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