Local man receives 'Kindness in Action' recognition, helps rebuild people's lives

HATTIESBURG, Miss. - This week's Kindness in Action highlights a local man who collects furniture to make sure others have a furnished home.

Richard Potin started a furniture ministry at Westminster Presbyterian church in 2010. After a 28 year career with the Hattiesburg Paper Company Potin said he could not sit at home during retirement, he'd rather make a difference in other people's lives.

“We furnish people that are trying to jump start their life, regardless of what people have done in the past" said Potin.

Since 2010 the furniture ministry has grown with the support of 35 local organizations, like the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, etc.

The organization has grown quite fast and now the church houses all the furniture inventory at a warehouse downtown.

Potin said,"Our goal is to help as many people as we can." "You need to stay in touch with these people, some of these people this is the lowest part of their life" Potin added.

"They need some encouragement" he said. Potin said he knows the furniture ministry is his calling.

He said every time an organization needs a specific piece of furniture or appliance and he does not readily have one, a higher power always comes through.

“We get into a situation where a person would need something, we don’t have it" said Potin. He said, "Don’t give up on me, she's got my card, within two days we will have it."

"You can call that coincidence, but that is a God thing, and it's something that it happens a lot" he added.

But with the good news he brings to others, bad news came his way a few years ago. Potin was diagnosed with oral cancer.

“Going through the health issues I have had, and I have never missed a day up until the time I caught pneumonia in January of not being down there" he said.

He said his cancer has never stopped him from serving the people of the Pine Belt because of prayer.

Potin recites, “'I will not fear, for You are with me to face my perils alone' I say that every night, I say that before every doctors appointment.”

He continues to take phone calls every day hoping he can change the life of just one more person.

Potin was also recognized for his work as 'Humanitarian of the Year' in 2016 with the Junior Auxiliary of Hattiesburg.

To learn more about the furniture ministry you can click here.

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