BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Some employees of a large company chose to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's legacy through service, Monday. They worked together to make a difference in one east Biloxi neighborhood.
Under sunny skies they toiled, trying to beautify John Henry Beck Park on Division Street. About 20 Mississippi Power employees turned their day off into a day of service.
"Martin Luther King was all about service and serving other people and that's what we encourage our employees to do. You can see a lot of people have pitched in their time to come out here and work for a good cause," said Mississippi Power District Manager Stephen Schruff.
One crew rebuilt a ramp for the gazebo, while another group of volunteers painted the front and back porches of the "Coastal Women for Change" office building.
"It's overwhelming. It's a blessing. It's humbling the fact that people gave up their day to help others. And Martin would love this, because this is what he was talking about. He's saying come together, equality," said Coastal Women for Change Executive Director Sharon Hanshaw.
Kenneth Means brought his two children to help spruce-up the Community Garden. They tilled the dirt, raked, and cleaned-up the area.
"Go over there and get that trash. See it trash on that fence?" he told his six-year-old son Kenneth Means, III.
The Mississippi Power engineer wanted to show his children how they can put King's message into action.
"I think it's important as parents, and also as an African-American father, that we allow our kids to see us go out and have a day of caring. Today, while it is a holiday, it's really not a day off. So for my kids, I think it's important that we lead by example," said Means.
"It feels really good, because you're helping other people and helping them have a better community and stuff," said his nine-year-old daughter Kennedy Means.
Just one day of service can mean a lot to the predominantly African-American community.
"We're considered the left-behind community, Ward two, East Biloxi. It lets the community know we're not that bad. People do love us and they do care to share their time with us," said Hanshaw.
"When you think about Dr. King, you have to think about if he was here, what would he be doing? I think it's important for us to understand that Dr. King would be giving back to the community. So in order to truly honor his legacy, we want to give back as well," said Means.
Mississippi Power volunteers also worked on other projects like installing benches and cleaning-up a park in Wiggins, and serving food at a homeless shelter in Hattiesburg.