Keep America Beautiful Volunteers Clean Up Biloxi - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Keep America Beautiful Volunteers Clean Up Biloxi

Katrina broke Biloxi's purple heart, giving plenty of work to volunteers to create a lush, green oasis in the memorial park. Seabees put the monument back together and a group of North Carolina students planted a floral tribute in front of a symbol that is so close to Biloxi's heart.

"Just to see how much the people appreciated it once we were done. The older lady who was the wife of the husband who built this, she was so happy and the man was very happy. It made my trip down here to see him be happy that we fixed his monument for him," says student Evans Stokes.

Volunteers are in Biloxi from across the country. Companies like Firestone have interests in the coast and say they had no second thoughts about making Biloxi beautiful again.

"The Biloxi area is our home. We have four stores here and it's just very very important that we come down and give back to the community," says volunteer Ron Seagle.

Brian Bronis is the Firestone store manager in Biloxi. He says this is home and he wanted to help.

"It took a pretty good beating in the storm, so it's a good area to go ahead and get cleaned up and get it ready again," Bronis says.

Illinois visitors Rebecca and Don Ericson saw Biloxi before the hurricane. They're saddened by the destruction, but happy to see a rebirth of the Biloxi they remember.

"It's just devastating, I can't believe it. But it's wonderful the way they're working here to get things cleaned up."

Keep America Beautiful says Biloxi was an obvious choice to launch the nationwide cleanup campaign.

"Since Katrina we have been looking for the right place to have a Keep America Beautiful event that would bring attention to the Gulf, to the recovery that needs to take place here," National Director Ray Empson says.

2006 marks the 21st year of the Keep America Beautiful campaign . More than 2 million people in 15,000 communities across the nation will pick up trash and debris in their hometowns.

byMarcia Hill

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