Carpenter Is Also a Good Samaritan
Retirement didn’t bring idle days for Percy Burton.
Since leaving his 31-year job as a carpenter at the El Toro Marine Corps Air Station in 1980, he has spent countless hours helping members of Second Baptist Church in Santa Ana and others in the community.
“Just as long as I’m on earth, I think I’ll be volunteering,” said Burton, 71. “Rather than sit around all day, I’d rather be out among people and helping them.”
When the church secretary receives requests for help with rent, doctor bills or food, she passes them on to Burton, who heads the church’s charity program.
He either calls the people to assess their problem or hops into his big blue pickup truck to check on people in need, such as a mother with a sick child or a family about to be thrown onto the streets.
“Deacon Burton has been stalwart in this church and in the community,” said Second Baptist Church’s pastor, the Rev. John McReynolds. “There are a lot of things that would not get done if Percy Burton did not do them.”
Burton has been active in the church for the last 38 years, serving as a trustee for 20 years, heading various committees and acting as a deacon. He was chairman of the Thanksgiving basket committee. The charity program he heads distributes about $6,000 each year.
Originally from Texas, Burton has lived in Santa Ana with his wife, Minnie, for 46 years, and over the years has become well known to folks who need help.
He assists many senior citizens in the community, fixing things around their homes or driving them to the doctor.
“There’s not any of the older people of Santa Ana that don’t know me. I’m just family,” Burton said. “My goal is to try to improve everyone’s situation to a comfortable level. I just want to see everyone live comfortably.”
Connie Jones, director of Southwest Community Center in Santa Ana, said that when someone helps out as much as Burton does, word just gets around.
“He’s involved with a number of different organizations and community groups,” Jones said. “And whenever somebody’s having a function, he buys a ticket.”
At the community center, he routinely acts as a handyman, fixing plumbing, doors, locks or whatever else is needed.
He is also helping to organize a homeless program at Second Baptist Church to aid women and children with shelter or at least a place to shower.
“That is my aim, to try to help those women and kids I see walking the streets in a serious and sorrowful condition,” Burton said.
“I get a satisfaction out of helping other people,” he added. “I always was taught by my mother to do unto others as you wish to be done to. I always have followed that rule.”
Percy Burton, 71
Occupation: Retired carpenter
Organization: Second Baptist Church, Santa Ana
Address: 1915 W. McFadden Ave., Santa Ana, Calif. 92704. (714) 541-4155.