Camp Victor closing in Ocean Springs, moving to Pascagoula

Suzie Harvey
Suzie Harvey

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - Camp Victor was born in the dreadful days following Hurricane Katrina, which damaged or destroyed 60,000 South Mississippi homes.  Since then, more than 40,000 volunteers have stayed there, helping to rebuild the coast.

So why is it shutting down?  The property is owned by the county.

"A developer wants to put a multi-use facility into that area down there that encompasses the old Swingster, ER building where Camp Victor is now, and they have approached us about putting a development in there," said Jackson County Supervisor John McKay.

Inside, the volunteers have made their mark, painting hundreds of murals, and leaving other mementos.  Suzie Harvey has been the ministry director since day one.  While this location be shutting down, she said the mission is still very much alive.

"We're just going to be moving across the bridge into Pascagoula," Harvey said.  "We were able to secure a place with Calvary Baptist Church on Market Street, so we're actually going to be able to still house volunteers who come to the coast and still do a construction ministry."

You can believe that with all the history in this building and with all the work that has been done here to help people rebuild their lives, when the deal is finally done and this building is demolished, there will be a lot of tears.

Those tears may be shed by 75-year-old Judith Eaton, who has volunteered 40 hours a week for more than five years.

"I'm very sad about the idea of all of this being demolished, I guess," Eaton said.  "That's really sad for me.  I've known a lot of people here and made lots of friends that I had to say goodbye to, and now to say goodbye to a whole building is very difficult."

What was not too difficult was the decision by Jackson County to sell the property, according to McKay.

"In the long run, would it be better utilized for the county, for the city, as a commercial piece of property that brings in tax dollars and helps the whole county, probably yes."

Camp Victor is still taking donations and asking for help to complete the move to Pascagoula. The number to call is (228) 875-0313.

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