Video: TNT Ranch is more than a building, it’s hope
GULFPORT -- A new building at a Gulfport shelter for the homeless and the chemically dependent is one step closer to becoming a reality.
TNT Ranch owner Tony Stapleton said a new living quarter that will have 14 bedrooms is almost finished.
"All we need to do now is raise $23,000 to have the sprinklers system installed in the new building," he said. "The electric was donated to us
Stapleton said the Coast community has been very helpful in building the new facility, from donated time and labor to larger donations such as money and services.
"We were so blessed to have the electrical work donated by CCS and the air conditioning unit was donated to us by Wayne Russ at Coastal Climate Control," he said. "The donated all of this to us free."
But the next step of the process, Stapleton said, will require money.
"The sprinkler system is something that will have to be installed by a professional," he said. "We have to get it done before we can put up the drywall -- we have everything in place from the drywall and fixtures to the furniture for the bedroom except the sprinkler system."
To raise the money, Stapleton and his staff have been fund-raising heavily on weekends, selling hamburgers and fish plates across Gulfport.
"If it's not raining, we are out there trying to make money," he said.
Terry Gentry, who owns Big Pig BBQ in Long Beach, said he heard about TNT's plight and he wanted to be supportive of Stapleton's mission to help anyone who needs assistance.
"Tony is a good man and he does a lot of work for the community, and he's helped a lot of people get their lives back together," Gentry said. "I wanted to do something to help him."
Gentry said he will donate 100 percent of the profits from his weekend sales to TNT.
"We will be doing this all day Friday, Saturday and Sunday," Gentry said. "We will be at 6227 Beatline Road in Long Beach all weekend."
As he gets closer to his new facility, Stapleton said he is grateful for the support of the community.
"It's been overwhelming," he said. "You have these big ideas and think that one day there will just be a big pile of money, but you just ask the Lord for help and build it brick by brick."