WEBSTER PARISH, La. (KSLA) — Working outdoors certainly has its benefits.
Just ask a group of men often seen walking the rural roads of Webster Parish most mornings.
“That’s one of the perks,” smiled Menard Shine, as he marched down the road with a trash bag in one hand and a trash grabber in another.
Compared to where these Webster Parish men could be right about now, they are living the highlife.
“It’s a chance at free air,” added Decarrio Markay.
Free, because if they weren’t on this trash crew, they would be sitting behind bars serving out the rest of their sentences.
“I just made a stupid decision like I’ve made all my life,” admitted Markay.
Regardless, these men have begun the steady process of turning their lives around. Back on January 13, Markay, Shine, and inmate Larry Kensey were assigned to a trash detail on Goodwill Road.
“It’s not a very well traveled road that time in the morning,” explained Webster Parish deputy Henry Laurence who was assigned to watch over the inmates that day.
A couple of hours into the trash duty, Deputy Laurence says he decided the team needed to take a break, so he pulled the van and trailer over near a home along Goodwill Road.
“One of the guys went to looking around and said, ‘Mr. Laurence, I think the house is on fire’,” the deputy recalled.
The home they had parked directly in front of now had smoke and flames rolling out from the attic and into the air.
“I didn’t say nothing. They just took off running,” bragged the deputy.
He said they ran directly toward the flames.
“We beat on the windows and beat on the doors,” Shine explained.
While he and Markay banged on the windows and doors to get the attention of anyone who might be inside, Kensey said he picked up a water hose and began battling the flames.
Moments later, someone opened the front door.
“A lady came to the door and I said, ‘Lady, your house is on fire. You’ve got to get out’,” recalled Shine.
Inside, and unaware their home was home fire, were Jayda Spillers elderly parents.
“That gives me chills now to think, they may not have known their house was on fire until the roof caved in on them,” a grateful Spillers shared.
“God uses people to be his hands on earth,” she added.
The same hands, in this case, who then volunteered to race right back inside that burning home to pull out whatever they could.
The inmate crew pulled out furniture, pictures, clothes, and important papers until fire fighters arrived on scene to douse the flames.
“To me, it was all God,” continued Spillers.
“I think his hands were in all of that on that day.”