Navy hands help out in Waveland

WAVELAND, MS (WLOX) - The city of Waveland benefited from the hands of 20 volunteers, all members of the Naval Oceanography and Meteorology Office at Stennis Space Center. The workers took a break from their day jobs to perform a little community service. And it's the youth of that city that will be among the first to notice the difference made by the Navy.

Garden tools, paint brushes and bags of mulch are not the tools and materials oceanographers typically use, but it was the equipment they needed to answer Tuesday's call to duty.

"We came to this park and we wanted to give it some life. Get it prepared for the summer for the children when they come," said Andrew Ribar, Navy Community Relations Coordinator.

The Navy volunteers spent the day sprucing up Elwood Bourgeois Memorial Park. They painted playground equipment.

"The paint was really chipped off some of it looked a little bit rusty," explained Navy Oceanographer Jahmal Moore.

They pulled weeds and spread new mulch inside of the parks flower beds.

"They are just outside of the Stennis South gate, so they're a really close neighbor of ours," Ribar said. "We also kind of knew through reports that they were in need of a little extra help, especially the parks department."

City financial woe a year and a half ago reduced Waveland's Parks and Recreation Department from five full time workers to only two. The director of the department is one of the two.

"It was done in four hours. We couldn't have done it in four hours; it would have taken us probably two days to get it done. Twenty people this morning helped a whole lot," said Willie Moody, Director of Waveland's Parks and Recreation Department.

It's really rewarding in its own sense, I'd say," Moore said.

"It's just a great feeling to come out and do anything for any community, but specifically Waveland," Tonia Wilson said.

The fourth try was the charm for this community service project. Mother Nature stood in the way of previous attempts.

"Despite the fact we've been rained out three times, finally Mike Reader helped us out and we have beautiful weather today. So we were able to put in a good day's work and make a big difference here at this park," said Ribar.

The park makeover was just part of what the Navy did in the city of Waveland.  Another team of oceanographers spent the day at City Hall sprucing up the landscape around the building. They say they plan to do even more projects in Waveland in the near future.

Copyright 2013 WLOX. All rights reserved.