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Saints recognize Gulfport retiree for years of volunteer work

COURTESY MAG HOLLANDJohn Armstrong stops by Champions Square outside the Superdome in New Orleans on Dec. 28. He was recognized before the Jaguars-Saints game for his volunteer efforts. Armstrong was nominated by Harrison County RSVP representative Mag Holland, who accompanied him.
COURTESY MAG HOLLANDJohn Armstrong stops by Champions Square outside the Superdome in New Orleans on Dec. 28. He was recognized before the Jaguars-Saints game for his volunteer efforts. Armstrong was nominated by Harrison County RSVP representative Mag Holland, who accompanied him.

Although John Armstrong of Gulfport retired more than a decade ago, he had devoted his "free" time to passionately helping others.

Armstrong recently was honored for his volunteerism by the New Orleans Saints organization as a New Orleans Saints Community Quarterback Award recipient. He was acknowledged Dec. 28 on the field of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome before the Saints/Jaguars game.

The Saints won the game 38-27.

"I was very surprised to get this award," Armstrong said. "I couldn't believe it. I thought it was a robo-call."

Armstrong is a member of the Harrison County Retired and Senior Volunteer Program. RSVP representative Mag Holland nominated Armstrong for the award. She also accompanied him to New Orleans to receive the honor.

"John Armstrong volunteers seven days a week," Holland said. "He has been a member of Harrison County RSVP for eight years, during which he has recorded more than 13,000 volunteer hours."

Holland said Armstrong deserved the recognition because he is always thinking of others.

"He was heading to New Orleans recently and he got a call that a veteran didn't have any air conditioning, and it was 98 degrees that day," she said. "He turned his car around and went to help the senior who didn't have any air."

Armstrong divides his volunteer hours between Habitat for Humanity and other organizations including Resilience of Coastal Kids, a nonprofit that helps foster children.

He said his work with ROCK has been some of his most rewarding.

"A lot of times, there are siblings in foster care," he said. "We try to get bunk beds for them. I tell you, working with Rock has been great."

During his New Orleans trip, Armstrong got to watch the Saints players warm up before the game.

He said he had great seats for the game.

"They put us up in one of the suites," Armstrong said. "We were in a suite right next to Tom Benson. I have always liked the Saints but I had never been to a game before. They played really well that day."

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