GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - From fostering countless numbers of children and collecting Christmas gifts for the needy to making sure senior citizens have working air conditioning, one Coast woman is being called an “angel” by those who know her.
Mag Holland has a sign hanging in her office that reads: “God didn’t do it all in one day. What makes me think I should?" And it’s truly an apt saying for the woman who has made it her mission to help as many people as possible.
The 61-year-old said her selfless and giving spirit is something she learned at an early age from her father.
“If you saw someone getting out of their car and needed help walking in the store, even as little kids, we had to go help them," she recalled. “That’s what we did.”
One recurring theme is heard from Holland repeatedly: You can always help others.
“There’s something that you can do. It doesn’t matter if it’s just a kind word, you can always do something for someone else," she said.
One of the places Holland helps the most is the Gulfport Senior Citizens Program.
“She’s an angel,” said Jacqueylyn Stokes. “Mag Holland is an angel.”
Stokes, who volunteers with the senior program, says Holland is someone she can always can count on when she needs anything.
“She knows who to go to, who to talk to, what’s needed to get it facilitated and she does it,” said Stokes.
Roddie Capers was without an air conditioner for two years until Holland stepped in.
“She immediately went to task on the problem and the next thing I knew, I had an air conditioner,” said Capers.
Lawrence Phillips is another person who appreciates Holland for her giving spirit. In fact, he credits her for turning his life around after being caught up in a cycle of addiction.
“If it wasn’t for Mag, I would probably still be out there doing stupid stuff,” Phillips said.
Hyper by nature and never satisfied, Holland is always looking for the next person to be of service to.
“I’ve got a senior who needs her porch built and she’s scared to death because she’s about to lose her insurance,” Holland said.
That’s where John Armstrong and his team of volunteers known as the Handyman Brigade come in. The guys are always willing to tackle any project for Holland.
“We can get a wheelchair ramp built in a couple of days, where it might have taken a week or two without her encouragement and her putting all these different resources together,” Armstrong said.
Holland has received numerous awards for her volunteer work, both locally and on Capitol Hill. And she did it all while raising four children, plus adopting two more. Eight years ago, she opened her home to Emma and Nora. Those girls are now in college and high school.
“They have been such a joy,” said Holland. “It’s just like, God gave you these children and He’s going to give you a few on the side and it’s just been awesome.”
Holland loves having a full house so much that she has fostered many children, as well, providing them a stable and loving place temporary home.
She keeps memories of each foster child in the pages of an overflowing binder.
“Each page is a child, but they’re not a number. A child is never a number,” she said. “They’re all so special in my heart and even when the children leave, I tell them even if I never see you again you’re always in my heart.”
She does so much for so many but all she wants in return is for others to pass on her example. It’s a challenge Lawrence Phillips gladly accepts.
“If you do something for one person and another person sees your goodness, it passes on and the good things just keep growing and growing,” said Phillips. “It’s a wonderful feeling.”
Mag Holland can point to a lifetime of service to others and at age 61, she has no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
“I go to bed knowing I’ve helped and done all I could, then I wake up the next morning and go at it again,” she said.
The main message Holland wants to carry to others is that anyone can always help someone else. Volunteering doesn’t have to be hard, she says. It can be as simple as taking out the trash for an elderly neighbor.
And an attitude like that is why Mag Holland is someone who is South Mississippi Strong.