Man helping volunteer who helped so many

By Krystal Allan - bio | email

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - Darrell Long has put nearly 20,000 miles on his van driving between North Carolina and South Mississippi.

Keith Hunter of Pascagoula was one of the many helped through Long's volunteer work.

"My contractor ripped me off, took two-thirds of our money and we had a third of the money left. The house was nowhere near complete," Hunter remembered.

Long brought volunteers along to finish up Hunter's house. For the past three years, they've spent time off work volunteering in South Mississippi. But recently, as Long made the trip back to North Carolina, he ran into a little trouble.

"They were headed back to North Carolina and somewhere in the middle of the night the van motor just came apart," Hunter said.

Hunter got Long a church van to get back home.  Although Long's van is sitting in Atmore, Alabama, broken down, it couldn't keep him away.

"Saturday night at 10:30, that church van was back in Pascagoula, Mississippi. Because another group from North Carolina had come back to work, including Darrell," Hunter said.

Darrell's unwavering commitment to helping the people of South Mississippi is why Hunter is doing all he can to help Long get his van back on the road.

"When you help him, you're continuing to help us, because he's still here helping," Hunter said.

"You know, a lot of people don't like help. But I'm glad to see that knight and shining armor ride up and rescue me," Long said.

Now, the man whose rescued so many by helping them rebuild will see the labor of love returned.

Hunter has set up an account at Hancock Bank under the North Carolina Katrina Volunteers Benefit Account to get Long's van fixed. Though he won't have his van, Long will join a group of volunteers headed to Louisiana next week.