College Students And Volunteers Help Rebuild Home In East Biloxi

Students from Armstrong Atlantic State University in Savannah, Georgia were among the dozens of volunteers who are helping out in the rebuilding effort. All of the students are spending their fall break, and their own money, to help rebuild this home on Elmer Street.

"Actually, the school quit sponsoring the trip, so this is actually out of our pockets," said student Christopher Gatch.

Gatch is working with 20 other students from the University, along with Americorps workers and airmen from Keesler Air Force Base, who have a lot of experience in rebuilding.

"I actually have a background in this. My father's been doing construction for over 40 years, so I thought that's where my talents, and abilities and experience could help out here today," said airman Howard Church.

"Down in the Gulf Coast we've been doing a lot of construction. We do construction in New Orleans. We just sort of learn as we go," said Americorps volunteer Erin Thayer.

The house is one of about 30 homes being refurbished through a partnership between St. Simon's Episcopal Church in Fort Walton Beach and Urban Life Ministry(ULM) based in Biloxi. Members of St. Simon's have made more than 60 trips to South Mississippi since Hurricane Katrina.

"We started out in Pass Christian, and worked a lot over there. We worked in Gulfport, and this area, I think if you look around, you can pretty much answer your own question, it's where a lot of need is. We find there's a lot of need over here. A lot of people want to get in their homes," said Claude Connell, a member of St. Simon's Episcopal Church.

Recently, they've been spending a lot of time in east Biloxi. The number of volunteer workers has tapered off over the past year. St. Simon's and ULM are continually looking for volunteers to help out as they continue to help rebuild homes on the Gulf Coast. If you'd like to help out call the Urban Life Ministry in Biloxi.