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A man of service

By Michael Butler

Lawrence "LA" O'Neal is doing good things in Wall Street. He has been involved with the Wall Street Community Center for about six years.

"When I first got out of the service, I was looking for things to do to volunteer," O'Neal said. "It was dormant at the time. We go involved and started waking it up. It's been a really good experience."

The outreach has given kids in the Wall Street area new opportunities.

"We started out with the Christmas program. We wanted to bring Santa Claus to the Wall Street community for those that couldn't go to Montgomery or Auburn to take pictures with Santa. We started out with $500 and bought about 100 gifts. We had 80 people show up the first time. It's grown. We had over 250 kids last year."

Addressing the kids during the 2015 Christmas program

The Christmas program is not the only service offered.

"At Thanksgiving we give out turkeys and food baskets to the elderly and families in need. This year we incorporated a backpack giveaway. We gave away 250 bookbags that were completely stocked with all the supplies in them."

O'Neal is working with other groups as well.

"The Gentlemen's Group did a preschool party for the graduates of the preschool. There is a lot of stuff going on in a small community."

O'Neal is giving back to the community where he was raised. He graduated from Reeltown High School and served in the Air Force.

"It's part of our mantra in the Air Force. It's the whole person concept. Wherever you're stationed, you get out and do something in the community to leave it a better place than what you inherited."