GULFPORT — The City of Gulfport’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service is the one day that we get to showcase what many already do all year long. Since our first Day of Service in 2015, we continue to grow and are getting more and more volunteers that are making a real difference in people’s lives.
During the opening ceremony, I was honored to read the following excerpt from “The Meaning of the King Holiday” by Coretta Scott King.
“No other day of the year brings so many peoples from different cultural backgrounds together in such a vibrant spirit of brother and sisterhood. Whether you are African American, Hispanic or Native American, whether you are Caucasian or Asian American, you are part of the great dream Martin Luther King, Jr. had for America. This is not a black holiday; it is a people’s holiday.”
It was in this spirit that residents, friends and visitors volunteered and worked in over 20 registered MLK Day of Service community projects.
We opened our program with an invocation by Father George Iregi, a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem by Jaylissa Williams and moving excerpts from the “I Have A Dream” speech were read by two young men from the community, Jaylen McGuire and Jeremiah Wimbley McGuire. Mayor Sam Henderson welcomed the crowd along with Senator Darryl Rouson.
I was honored to greet our volunteers and provide the call-to-action prior to them departing for their respective community service projects. These projects included cleanups, animal services, assistance to an elderly disabled resident, building a playground for a family, help at the VA Healthcare Center, food pantries, installation of a community food pantry, community garden, cemetery cleanup and much more.
There is no doubt that this year, like prior years, Gulfport volunteers have and are making a real difference. Not only do we thank the volunteers, but we also thank Dr. King for planting the seed of always doing good for others.