JONESTOWN—People who want to can always find some way to help.
When storms hit Jonestown on Easter Sunday young group of citizens rallied to lend their muscle to clean up the town.
Pastor Bennie Brown of St. James Missionary Baptist Church, worked with about 18 men for more than a month to clean things up a little at a times.
Brown said he never saw so much damage in Jonestown at one time.
“They’re doing what they’re supposed to do,” said Brown of everyone coming together. “That’s what communities do. They ride around and get stuff done.”
Brown said people have been wearing masks since the damage occurred during a time of social distancing with the coronavirus. While the damage came during the pandemic, that was not an excuse for Brown.
“You do what you’ve got to do,” he said. “There’s no such thing as bad timing. When you’re in a community and things need doing, you do what you’ve got to do.”
Teddy Moore is one citizen who has stepped up as a volunteer after Brown and Mayor Kenny Lester contacted him.
Moore said many of the citizens did not have much money, so he willingly helped.
“Everything that we cleaned up came from the storm,” Moore said.
“Most of the town of Jonestown is messed up, period.”
Moore said a tree fell on the street at St. James Missionary Baptist Church, in the parking lot of the Timothy Burrel Multipurpose Building and on several roads including Second Street, Main Street, Deer Park and Johnson Street.
“What we doing is we’re coming through, we’re cleaning, we’re cutting them up and putting them off the side of the road,” Moore said.
Citizens could not drive on some streets.
Moore said the trees were cut and moved with a bulldozer to clear the roads.
“Some of the folks couldn’t even afford to pay,” Moore said. They needed the trees down before the storm came back, so we did the trees.
“Young guys in the community of Jonestown came through when we were cutting it. They were putting it up on to the side of the road.”
Lester expressed his appreciation.
“I just want to thank God for putting it on their heart to come out and do what they are doing,” Lester said. “A lot of elders - people couldn't afford to have the trees removed, but these guys did it at no cost. Pastor Bennie Brown and But God Ministries, Fernando Johnson and Ricky Lee of Jonestown Oil Mill, Patricia Saxton-Williams and her family and all the volunteers who gave their time and money, we definitely appreciate it. Together we can and will make Jonestown great again.”
One student who stepped up is 17-year-old Jonestown resident Zoe Williams, who is expected to graduate from Coahoma Early College High School in 2021. He works with But God Ministries as an intern.
“I just wanted to help out,” Williams said. “Most of us don’t have many opportunities that other people. I try to do more for the kids and community that people didn’t do for me.”
Williams’ focus is academics, not sports, and he hopes to attend College at Ole Miss or Mississippi State University.
“Everybody has a dream to go on pro,” Williams said. “My dream is just to graduate high school and go on to a good college.”
Williams said he has been doing his school work online, but he prefers the classroom. He did say distance learning gave him more time to help clean Jonestown.
“I’ve been waking up early in the morning, getting online, doing the work,” said Williams about when he does his school work.