New Year's Day Means No Vacation For Volunteers

It was a quiet New Year's morning on Delauney Street in East Biloxi. While most people were still asleep, two cousins were hard at work.

Edward Sherman and John Wildeman are Hands-On volunteers. The men believe when it comes to Katrina recovery, there's no time to party.

"I missed New Years. I missed the ball drop. I was asleep," said John Wildeman, a volunteer from Maine. "But it's good. We worked yesterday too."

"Because I have a lot of stuff that needs to get done," said Edward Sherman, Hands On Construction Manager. "And I want to get Ms. Pearl Hopkins in her house, and I don't really celebrate New Year's as a holiday."

When asked if he was out celebrating the night before, he laughed and said "No, I went to bed at 10:00."

Both men have been repairing the storm-damaged house since October. There's still much work to be done, including the plumbing, painting and trimming.

"She's got dogs that are currently running the streets because she doesn't have a place to put them, and it would be great to get her back in here," Wildeman said.

The volunteers have made a resolution that they are determined to keep.

"By the end of this week, we should have people here moving her stuff inside, so she could sleep here by this weekend," Sherman said.

That means this new year will be a fresh start for a family in need.

"It may sound corny, but a lot of people down here are my family too," Sherman said. "We want to rebuild their house. Get them back in. And anything that we can do to make the home a little bit better and East Biloxi a little bit better, why not do it?"

Both men have another reason for wanting to finish the house this week. Next week, they'll focus on training a group of volunteers, who are arriving to rebuild houses in South Mississippi.

By: Trang Pham-Bui