County resident goes above and beyond life’s calling to help others
Published 7:00 am Thursday, January 5, 2017
How people handle life’s burdens often redefines their character, embracing life’s difficulties, or turning away. Jonathan Beech faces life’s adversities while ensuring he still has time to volunteer for multiple organizations and care for his family.
Beech describes himself as “a simple man with a big heart for the people I love,” he said, which is reflected in his endless support for his medically handicapped mother and sister. However, no matter how tough life becomes, Beech always has a smile on his face.
“Jonathan is one of those special people you meet once in a lifetime,” Sharon Bonnecarrere, Crossroads Food Pantry director, said. “Everybody knows him and it seems like everywhere he goes he is laughing and joking with someone in the community.”
Beech moved to Picayune when he was 5-years-old. During that year, tragedy struck his family.
In 1992, his father was involved in a car accident that took his life, leaving Beech as the man of the house at an early age.
“Growing up was pretty good. I got to spend a lot of time with my family, which to me is what life is all about,” Beech said.
Beech matured quickly, and was taught the value of volunteerism throughout his teenage years. Now, when Beech isn’t helping with his mother and sister, he volunteers at the Picayune Lions Club as an event coordinator to “make sure everybody has a good time,” he said.
He also is a board member at Byrd’s Chapel United Methodist Church and recently started volunteering on the kitchen staff for the Kairos Prison Ministry in Biloxi.
“It is a lot of work, but it’s also really fun to help out with the [Kairos Prison] Ministry,” he said.
Beech volunteers for the Kairos Prison Ministry Outside program, which supports women who have incarcerated spouses or relatives.
Along with the countless hours of volunteer work, Beech said he works “crazy hours” delivering bread, waking up at 2 every morning to go to work. Despite those efforts, he still finds the time to take care of his family. In March, his life took an unexpected turn when his sister, Cassandra, was diagnosed with stage four cancer.
Cassandra currently lives in Jackson, but that doesn’t stop Beech from visiting her whenever possible, and calling every day just to check in.
Months before his sister was diagnosed, Beech rushed his mother to the hospital with what was a severe case of pneumonia.
“The doctor said if I didn’t get her to the hospital when I did, she might not have made it,” Beech said. “He also told me it was unlikely that she would see tomorrow.”
The doctor found an abundance of carbon dioxide built in her system, but she survived. Weeks later, Beech had to call the emergency room because she started to hallucinate while he was taking care of her. It turned out to be a second case of pneumonia, Beech said. He said his mother is recovering and currently resides in a nursing home.
“Every weekend I go visit her, take her out to eat and go shopping. We have a lot of fun together,” Beech said.
Despite what life throws at Beech, he said he still “smiles everyday, and looks forward to meeting new people.”