Auburn football player, Gulfport High alum spends off-season giving back to community
BAY ST.LOUIS, Miss. (WLOX) - Auburn University defensive end Derrick Hall has provided a helping hand to Ruth’s Roots in Bay St. Louis for five years.
The football star began serving when he launched a lawn mowing service while attending Gulfport High School.
“I believe as just a young kid just trying to have his own money, the way I grew up really not having much at a young age. just to do something on my own and just go out and get it was the biggest thing for me,” he said.
Hall said his mother helped him kickstart his entrepreneurial journey.
“So my mom also helped me with that. She made like all my invoices,” he said. “She made the business. She really just prompted everything because at the time I really didn’t know what I was doing.”
Hall’s mother made the connection with the owner of Ruth’s Roots, Elise Deano, during his junior year. She became his first client.
“He started cutting the grass and then started volunteering into bigger projects that he saw were either needed here or that he wanted to help with,” Deano said.
The 21-year-old could spend his time elsewhere during his off-season, but he finds purpose in helping others in a community that has given so much to him.
“I’ve had opportunities to experience a lot of homelessness,” Hall said. “A lot of people having fires in their homes and a lot of different things like that. So, giving back to the community is one of the reasons that I’m always here. Ms. Elise is also a great person. She helps out anyone in need any way she can.”
Deano said Hall has been an absolute blessing for the business.
“I mean he’s just done every little thing,” she said. “If he comes here and sees something that needs to be done, he takes it on.”
Hall is not only making an impact in the community but on the gridiron as well. He’s expected to be a first-round pick in the NFL draft next month in Kansas City.
“It really hasn’t hit me yet,” Hall said. “I think maybe the week before the draft or the day before the draft, I’ll be really kind of anxious just to see where I end up. And you know like I said when I get this time off, I’m enjoying it, but I’m looking forward to April 27.”
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