HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - They are in the business of changing lives. For more than two decades, the TNT Recovery Ranch has provided a home and counseling for addicts, alcoholics and the homeless. Now, they need a little help from the community to continue.
"We've got to get our wiring done and our AC done, and then it'll be time to close everything up," said Tony Stapleton, as he gave a tour of the new building.
Stapleton is excited about finishing the new 5,000 square foot facility. It will provide bedrooms, a cafeteria and counseling space for the residents who are looking for a new beginning here.
Helping addicts and alcoholics with recovery is a labor of love that was born of tragedy.
"My brother committed suicide in my house and at that time I asked the Lord to give me something to help make a difference in people's lives," said Stapleton.
"Got a lot of spunk," said Joseph Mattingly, as he fed an apple to a horse, "Just like a lot of people who come here, they've got a lot of spunk."
Mattingly is now on staff at TNT, but he came to the ranch five years ago as a down and out addict.
"I was suffering from the throes of addiction and alcoholism after a death in my family, and I needed to relocate in another area. Sometimes, you've got to change people, places and things," he said.
"I have actually known Tony for quite awhile, back through high school. We kind of grew up together. He mentioned this project to me and I was willing to get on board and help out," said Harrison County Supervisor Kent Jones.
Jones helped organize Saturday's fund-raising bridge walk which will raise money to help finish this new facility. The bridge walk on the Biloxi-Ocean Springs Bridge is Saturday from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. A $20 donation is requested to help TNT carry on its life giving mission for another two decades.
"Well, I think sometimes you have to kind of step outside the box and look at projects that are bigger than yourself. And this is one of those projects," he explained.
"I want to stress I want to thank the community for all their help in 2015, because they have been so good to us," said a smiling Tony Stapleton.
He's hoping 2016 will be even better.