"You can't get any happier than what I am right now," Biloxi homeowner Rozina Manning said Thursday.
Thanks to the cast of television's longest running soap opera, Guiding Light, and Hands on Gulf Coast, Rozina shed tears of joy as she saw the lower level of her newly rebuilt and furnished home for the first time. Guiding Light's efforts are part of the show's year-long "Find Your Light" campaign. They're volunteering at locations across the country as a way to thank their fans and give back to local communities.
"I think I'm about to pop with happiness and you can't get any more in me. I feel like I'm about to explode," Manning said.
Rozina thinks that's probably the same reaction her daughter and mother will have when they see their new rooms. Her mother, who's been a fan of the show for years, still watches her favorite soap, even though she's in the hospital.
The soap stars say it's Rozina, her family and others like them across the coast that have touched their lives and made them more dedicated to letting their light shine through helping others.
"Our hope in coming down as part of our 70th anniversary of the show is really about service, giving back to our community and raising awareness," said Robert Newman who has played Joshua Lewis on the show since 1981.
"It really took on this spirit and it was ours. It was almost as if it was our homes. It meant that much to us. It wasn't as if someone told us to do something. We kept it at that. We went to the next level and it came naturally," said Gina Tognoni who plays Dinah Marler.
Manning's home is one of three homes the cast and crew is rebuilding. And although Rozina says she's grateful for all they've done, she's issued a challenge for others to follow in the steps of her favorite daytime stars.
"Maybe another soap opera will challenge Guiding Light to help other people. It is so many of us who need help, and I hope I'm not the last person," Manning said.
The cast plans to continue with other volunteer projects throughout the country as part of a year-long effort to help communities through volunteerism. But, since all the cast members won't be able to come out for all the projects, they're asking fans to get on board. You can log on to FindYourLight.net for more information.