Hurricane Katrina destroyed hundreds of thousands of trees here in South Mississippi. On Saturday, some folks at WLOX teamed up with other community sponsors to help replace what Mother Nature took away more than six months ago.
"It's a different kind of hand off. I'm used to taking hand offs, actually, though," said a Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College football player at Saturday's tree giveaway.
And it wasn't the typical play for the football players. On this day, the bulldogs handed out trees, oak tree seedlings to be exact. They teamed up with WLOX and dozens of other volunteers from the community.
"We're giving these trees out to folks in the local community, and we're just thrilled to be a part of that," said Candice Poulos of Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.
"The cars have been rolling in since nine o'clock this morning," said Vicki Pace of Hancock Bank. "We've had tons of volunteers here. The volunteerism is what's really great. So far all of the people who have come here to get the trees have been so appreciative."
No one minded getting a little dirty, separating the seedlings, and bagging them up. And even though the saplings may not look like much now, they will sow the seeds for a more beautiful coast in years to come.
"These trees are small today, but with nourishment, in five or ten years, they'll be nice shade trees," said WLOX Station Manager and News Director Dave Vincent.
"Trees are one of the things that really make the coast so beautiful. We lost so many live oaks because of Hurricane Katrina, and we at WLOX, and all of our sponsors, we thought it would be a great idea to help the coast come back this way."