Wisconsin Volunteers Build A Home For A Biloxi Woman - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Wisconsin Volunteers Build A Home For A Biloxi Woman

On a piece of ground she has known all her life, Karen Arseneau watches as a new home rises to replace the one that was claimed by Hurricane Katrina.  

"This is my childhood home," says the life long Biloxi resident. "I was born and raised here. I've been living in an RV in my driveway ever since the storm, basically."

But those days are coming to an end soon thanks to the help and hard work of Volunteers In Mission from Wisconsin.  

"This group is one of three teams coming down here in the month of January to work on Karen's house," says Volunteers In Mission Site Coordinator Vince Ramsden. "They're mostly retired folks who have a lifetime of skills and they come down here to put them into practice."

And if you measure by lifetimes, that would make 88-year-old Marzo Bliss the most skilled.  

"I'm just one of the youngsters here," says the Madison, Wisconsin native.  

He's been with Volunteers in Mission for about 18 years now, and says it's one of the most satisfying jobs he's ever had.  

"For us it's very satisfying to see what has gone up and know that she's going to be happy in her new home," says Bliss.   

"I've got a garage," exclaims Arseneau. "I've never had a garage before. And this is the most exciting thing for me, the idea of clicking that little clicker and the door opens, you drive your car in."

Karen says her happiness is only compounded by the fact that these selfless volunteers are a part of it.  

"It's just amazing. We would have never met any of these people if it hadn't been for the storm," Arseneau says. 

"As a matter of fact, I'm thinking of moving down and moving in with her," Bliss says with a wink.

by Don Culpepper

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