A Hattiesburg recovery group makes history - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

A Hattiesburg recovery group makes history

By Colleen Donovan - bio | email | Twitter

HATTIESBURG, MS. (WDAM) - R3SM, which stands for Recover, Rebuild, Restore Southeast Mississippi is holding it's first ever benefit walk Saturday to raise money for improvements to their new headquarters.

The organization recently purchased a well known former Hub City boarding house and they plan to make it a jewel of the downtown area. The building is located at at 301 Bushman street right across from the train depot.

Built nearly a century ago it's undergoing a new transformation thanks to the vision of R3SM's Executive Director, Sheila Varnado.

"We've gotten a lot of buzz and excitement in the community about someone coming in and renovating it. It's a great property," said Varnado.

The organization plans to use the building for office space and living quarters for the many volunteers who help R3SM fulfill it's mission of giving Hurricane Katrina victims a safe, livable home.

"We have always been challenged since we started our work with having a place suitable for volunteers to stay, and large numbers of volunteers. We were fortunate that we were able to get a grant from the United Way of America, which allowed us to have some seed money. We were able to purchase this property and now we are going to work to renovate it," said Varnado.

While the property has lots of space, over 10 thousand square feet in fact, it does need work and that's where the fundraiser comes in. It's called the Gordon's Creek 5-k walk, 10-k run.

Registration for the walk takes place at 7:30 am on November 7th. R3SM plans to renovate the building in stages with the goal of having the first floor complete by the summer of 2010.

Starting Thursday, the registation fee for the walk is 25 dollars. Several age categories are part of the event and prizes will be awarded to the top finishers in each division.

For more information about the event and R3SM, call 601-544-5115.

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