One man brings a new meaning to homelessness - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

One man brings a new meaning to homelessness

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) -

WLOX first told you about a homeless man named Gary Rayburn in January when he was kicked off the land he was camped out at in Biloxi.

Rayburn is now doing work to help others. He's probably not what comes to mind when you think homeless.

"I haven't really tried very hard to get out because I'm more focused on other people to get out because I can suffer with homelessness," said Gary Rayburn.

He definitely does not sound impoverished.

"You have chronic homelessness and you have predicament homelessness," said Rayburn. "Predicament homelessness is when someone loses as job and they don't really belong out in a forest."

At his friend Steve Muldovan's apartment, Rayburn was helping care for Muldovan. Muldovan is a former homeless man who suffers from serious health problems. He's just one of the many people Rayburn has helped in his six years of homelessness.

"I did have a vehicle and I actually passed that along to another homeless man," said Rayburn. "So I did some good with it."

I donated my bike when I moved out of the forest," said Rayburn.

Months ago, Rayburn was kicked off the land where he had set up camp. Then, a woman brought him into her apartment. She just died of cancer, putting Rayburn on the street again. But, the 55-year-old man seeks no pity. In fact, at the annual picnic for homeless people, put on by Shepherds of the Gulf, Rayburn practiced what he preaches.

"How are you doing?" Asked Rayburn, greeting everyone. "I'm doing great."

"Well we want to thank you very much for coming out and doing God's work with us," said Rayburn making his way around to everyone.

Perhaps that's why Rayburn has been put on the board of directors for the non-profit organization.

"He's a link because he can go out there and actually relate one-on-one with the homeless in the camps and bring some inspiration and hope to them," said Shepherd of the Gulf Executive director Lynda Favre.

"He does a lot to try and help anybody he can," said Rayburn's friend Jon Stanley.

With free food and items everywhere, Rayburn remained selfless.

"I would like to have a new pair of shoes," said Rayburn. "But I can deal with what I got."

Rayburn is surrounded by friends, relating equally to the homeless and the volunteers. He only hopes that living by example, he can inspire others.

"I would just hope that the community would look at me and recognize that not all homeless people are drunken bums, sitting on a park bench," said Rayburn. "There's a lot of people out there like me and they really deserve an opportunity."

Copyright 2013 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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