New Jersey Group Cleans Biloxi Park To Remember 9/11 - - The News for South Mississippi

New Jersey Group Cleans Biloxi Park To Remember 9/11

Larry Weiss is a New Jersey stockbroker who left his air conditioned office for a day in south Mississippi's heat.

"It's only a day," he said with a smile, "we're not living with it."

Weiss' team had trench digging duties. The New Jersey group volunteered to help create a community garden in John Henry Beck Park.

"It's extremely significant," Weiss said.

The significance was noted on Weiss' hat. The Jewish Federation from Northern New Jersey chose 9/11 as they day they helped Biloxi clean up its hurricane mess.

Robin Miller joins the federation on its gulf coast clean up.

"It's very meaningful because it's our way of giving back and doing service to those in need in our own communities, and those throughout the country," she said.

Thanks to a radio sitting next to one of the trenches, names of 9/11 victims echoed across Beck Park while the New Jersey crew worked. Every one of these volunteers could tell stories about being so close to the World Trade Center when terrorists attacked.

Elaine Evans called the scenes in Manhattan, "hell" and "devastating". Evans is a clinical psychologist who got sent to Ground Zero.

"When I was down there it was like, it was a human graveyard," she said.

Each New Jersey volunteer remembered the pain and the horror of that 9/11 atrocity. But the group also remembered the nation's response.

George Bean's neighbor died when the buildings collapsed.

"The aftermath of 9/11 made us feel an enormous sense of community," he said.

That explains why a Jewish group from northern New Jersey came to Biloxi and helped another community in pain dig itself out of an unprecedented predicament.

"I can't think of a better way to honor that day," Evans said. "To honor the people here, to help them, that's what it's about."

Part of the trip to south Mississippi was so the UJA from northern New Jersey could fulfill a promise it made right after the hurricane. It donated $50,000 to Congregation Beth Israel, to help the area's Jewish community replace its hurricane damaged temple.

by Brad Kessie

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