Katrina Still Inspiring New Volunteers To Area

Months after Hurricane Katrina's devastation, volunteers are still pouring in to help South Mississippi recover. A Pennsylvania group called "Doing Our Part" is in Long Beach this week, continuing the work to rebuild the library others began in November.

Aaron Hayes in his last year at Penn State University. Helping to repair the Long Beach Library brought back memories of how his love of learning began.

"Being a college student myself, I remember days of going to the library pulling out books and just browsing around," said Hayes. "So the library is something that is really central to the community and you really have to keep the community spirit."

The renovation is the project of the volunteer group "Doing Our Part" out of Central Pennsylvania. Although the work began in November, each of the 10 people tearing out carpet and tile this week is a newcomer.

Volunteer John Thompson said, "The rest of us were looking for some way to help other than contributing money. We wanted to get more involved somehow. So when we saw the story in the paper, they were looking for volunteers to come down the first week in January and here we are."

The volunteers say work is difficult and dirty but they know that eventually their hard labor will make this library a place where minds are developed and dreams are inspired.

"Education for me, it just gives you so many options to do whatever you want," said Hayes. "To be able to dream and have your dreams come to fruition, education is a big part of that."

Volunteers say a Pennsylvania library has donated shelves, furniture and equipment that it no longer needs. Volunteers gave the Long Beach Library first choice and the rest will be given to the Pass Christian Library.