Volunteers choose service to celebrate MLK Day

Martin Luther King Jr. Day was celebrated Monday with the traditional parades, speeches and rallies. More and more people are also getting up off the couch and giving back.

Dr. King once said, "Life's most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?" Since then, his birthday has been celebrated as a day on, not a day off.

Regina Grissom was one of the volunteers helping with a day of service for Mission Arlington. But she hasn't always been in a position to give.

Around 20 years ago she found herself unable to make ends meet. She ended up in a shelter with two small children.

"I was desperate. I was in despair. I was out of resources. There was no one else to turn to," she said. "I was at rock bottom, scared to death and scared for my babies. What's gonna happen? What are we gonna do? Where are we gonna go?"

She found Mission Arlington. Or better yet, a volunteer with the organization found her.

"She knocked on my door that day and said, ‘Hey! Is there any way we can help you? Anything we can do?' She was like an angel," Grissom said.

Since then Grissom has returned the favor, especially on the MLK Day.

"If you've never been in a situation that you need help, it probably won't make sense. But if you've had a crisis in your life, then you realize a little extra help goes a long way," said Jim Burgins with Mission Arlington.

Some call the organization's day of service a "spiritual gas station" where cars full of donations pull up. Donations are unloaded, sorted and eventually handed out to those who have fallen on hard times.

Terrion Alexander, another volunteer who also goes by the name Mr. T, said he thinks the best way to honor Dr. King is through service and volunteering in the community.

"Just because it's MLK Day and he was just always preaching about working together and just being there for each other," he said.

For him and many others, MLK Day will never be a day off, always a day on.