A group of students from Kent State University traded their books for saws and measuring tape Tuesday afternoon. Their assignment? To build a fence around the Vietnamese Martyrs Church Rectory in Biloxi.
This is Lorell Martin's first trip to South Mississippi. In fact, this trip has marked a lot of firsts for the Kent State senior.
"I absolutely did not know how to use a saw. I've been sawing down here, and I did some caulking on the roof. I've never been that high," Martin said.
"Students gain more than just knowledge of construction," said university photographer and volunteer Bob Christy. "They really gain an appreciation of how tremendous the storm was and an appreciation of the people of Biloxi and the Gulf Coast because they're so friendly."
This is senior Megan Groties' second trip to volunteer in South Mississippi. All the volunteers on the trip actually paid their own way to help out with our recovery efforts. She believes the money she's spent is a good investment.
"It is such a rewarding experience, and I really wanted to come back. And no matter what it is, I think it's worth the money to come down here," Grotie said.
This is Kent State's second official trip to South Mississippi since the storm. The students say they will be leaving the Magnolia State later this week with a very valuable lesson.
"You can't take life for granted, you just can't do it," Lorell Martin said.
The university has made a long-term commitment to help rebuild South Mississippi. Another trip to our area is scheduled for March.