Alaska Volunteer Dies While Helping Others

For seven months now, South Mississippi has seen the goodness and generosity of volunteer workers who give their time and effort. Two days ago, one of those workers died while trying to help make things better for coast residents.

Crew members remember the day of that tragic accident.

"We were on the front side of the house. And we were just starting to put shingles down on the roof. And then on the back side of the house, Tom was climbing up the ladder and then we just all of a sudden heard somebody fall," said volunteer Brandon Gilbert.

According to witnesses, 67-year-old Tom Dahl fell off a ladder and hit his head on the sidewalk. Within six minutes, he was rushed to Singing River Hospital.

"One thing that someone said was, 'There not but for the Grace of God go I.' And it really hit home with us that if it wasn't him, it could have been any one of us," said Gilbert.

Still, these volunteers continue to work on.

"He would want us to keep working and continue to finish his job and he wouldn't want a job that he started to go unfinished," said Gilbert.

So they take it one step at a time, knowing they are not just working for these homeowners, or themselves, but for Tom as well.

"His son said, 'He died doing exactly what he wanted to be doing.' He was so happy in the last few days that he was here. And that he was helping people who are in need," said volunteer Loren Stanton.

According to friends, Dahl was a jack of all trades. The Juneau, Alaska native was a retired clergyman and attorney. He also served on the Board of Global Ministries.

Dahl is survived by his wife Gail, two sons and a daughter.

St. Paul United Methodist Church in Moss Point is having a memorial service Friday night at 6pm. The public is welcomed to attend.