Volunteer Appreciation Barbecue In Biloxi - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Volunteer Appreciation Barbecue In Biloxi

A volunteer appreciation barbecue was held Saturday afternoon in Hiller Park.

The guests of honor - the hundreds of volunteers who are currently working to help make South Mississippi home again for thousands of residents.

"We went to Moss Point and did a Kaboom build today. Earlier in the week, I worked at John Henry Beck Park with the Parks crew from Hands On, and I also helped to mud a house in Bay St. Louis," says Kentucky volunteer Maggie Melson.

And this is just an example of what these volunteers have done for almost a year now.

In the hours following Hurricane Katrina's landfall, the volunteers, as part of the East Biloxi Coordination and Relief Center, sprang into action by helping a community that some believe was forgotten by government agencies.

They became liaisons to those agencies, completing thousands of entry forms, work orders, and remediation cases.

They also physically stepped in, getting their hands dirty to do what they could to restore homes and lives.

That's why leaders of the East Biloxi Coordination and Relief Center thought some good food, free prizes from local companies, and a little down time would be the least they could provide for these volunteers.

"Because of their help, we've been able to make a lot of great strides in getting back, getting people back in their homes, removing the debris. They have just done an outstanding job," says Biloxi Ward 2 councilman and center coordinator Bill Stallworth.

Stallworth says virtually all of the homeowners in East Biloxi have had their homes cleaned out by volunteers, helping storm victims to get a fresh start for the future.

So, Saturday afternoon was dedicated to a group of people who deserve not only free food and gifts, but so much more.  

Stallworth says he believes the best way to show the volunteers our appreciation is for all of South Mississippi to come together and start helping ourselves.

By Karla Redditte

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