OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - A year long, grass roots effort to install security cameras on the Biloxi Bay Bridge is paying off. A generous donation will make that dream a reality.
You could feel the joy erupting from the small crowd that gathered at the foot of the Biloxi-Ocean Springs Bridge Friday morning. They watched as members of WAVE accepted an $8,000 check, just the amount needed to purchase and install security cameras on the bridge.
"Oh, my heart stopped for a minute. It was great news. I couldn't believe it, knowing we still had about $8,000 to raise, I was overcome," said WAVE Co-Founder Heather Denison.
The generous donation came from Bob Wilson, a former Pascagoula attorney who now works in Oxford, MS Wilson heard about WAVE's fundraising efforts on WLOX, and decided to donate to the cause. He asked his friend Lynn Rouse to present his gift.
"It's great to have a friend that has that big a heart and that kind of sees a need and he goes ahead and does it. He didn't want to be here and let it be all about him. He wanted it to be about the community and helping the people," said Rouse.
WAVE spent a year trying to raise a total of $10,000 for the cameras, one for each side of the bridge. Members realized the need after a woman was sexually assaulted on the bridge in November of 2014.
"It's proof that a small group can make a big difference. In only a year, we've raised money to make this bridge safer and hopefully, prevent an incident from happening like we had happen a year ago," said WAVE Co-Founder Robin Cooley.
"I think it's great that the community got involved and saw a need for something and put forth the work and effort into assisting the cities in getting it. I think it's fantastic," said Derek Hoppner with the Ocean Springs Police Department.
For people like Harriet Aufdemorte, who sometimes walk in fear, the thought of having surveillance cameras on the walkway is a bit comforting.
"It's wonderful for families, mothers with carriages, runners, bicyclists. It has really made my day," said Aufdemorte with a big smile.
The other $3,000 for the cameras came from Charter Bank, the Trehern Foundation and private donors. Police say even with the cameras in place, you still need to take safety precautions. WAVE hopes the cameras will be up and running by spring. They will record around the clock, so if there's an incident on the bridge, police can go back and look at the video.