LAURINBURG — As boys, these men never thought devastation would hit their hometowns like this. Now the pair are joining forces to make a difference in their community by giving out supplies Saturday.
Co- founders Hilee Taylor and Quentin Deberry joined with friends to create The Homeboys organization. It consists of 12 to 15 men who gather together to help a community that once raised them to achieve greatness. Most are Scotland High alumni.
“We started the group mid-July of 2018 (because) we felt obligated to give back,” said Taylor.
Based out of Charlotte, they saw in the news and heard of the lives turned upsidedown by Hurricane Florence and came down to lend a hand.
Hitting the pavement of Wagram, they recently handed out supplies and toiletries to those in need. The first volunteer service The Homeboys gave was in September at Bright Hopewell Baptist Church, where they brought and passed out bottled water and meals.
Both co-founders grew up in the county and went to Scotland High. Deberry played in the streets of Laurinburg and Taylor in Wagram. Deberry remembers how Scotland County was in the past when he lived here.
“For a small town, the economy was doing well with several jobs for locals (and) people were able to to provide for their families,” said Deberry. “Now, the county has the highest unemployment rate in the state and the crime rate is increasing.”
Answering a beckoning call for change, the men want to make an impact on the male population and teach that hard work and determination pays off. The organization plans to come back Nov. 17 to speak to boys from the fifth grade to 12th grade at Scotland High.
“Many of us went to college and lead great lives — some are entrepreneurs, educators, pro-athletes and computer specialists,” said Deberry.
“We always stayed together as a group after school, and now we want to make a positive difference,” said Taylor. “We are planning to do breakout sessions and go to different classrooms to share what we know.”
Taylor is a hometown celebrity, a retired football player from numerous NFL teams, but is widely known for being a linebacker with the Carolina Panthers. Deberry is a business information technology consultant and activist in the community. With the knowledge of these two leading the pack, The Homeboys hope to influenece children and adults alike to keep striving for excellence.
Jael Pembrick can be reached at 910-506-3169 or [email protected]