Community surprises ‘beloved’ 76-year-old volleyball referee with new car

Generally you wouldn’t use words like “beloved,” “like family,” or “adored” to describe a referee, but those are just a few of the ways a community in Georgia chooses to describe a 76-year-old volleyball referee.

Lemuel Buster, who is a retired Navy veteran and volleyball player, is a ref for Paulding County Parks and Recreation Department and a recent gesture by his community shows just how much he’s loved.

When the parks and recreation department started a volleyball league last year, Buster signed up to be a referee. He’s been a ref ever since.

According to 11Alive, the 76-year-old is known to show up to games several hours before he’s scheduled to ref just so he can help out.

He calls the rec league a part of his extended family, and the members of the league feel the same way about him. That’s why when Buster was in need of a more reliable way to get to games, his community stepped up, big time.

A few weeks earlier Buster’s car died, so he rented a car in order to get back and forth to the volleyball games.

“I made a commitment and a commitment mean a lot to me,” Buster said. “I did what I knew I needed to do. I rented a car.”

Leslie Ashworth, a mother of a teen who plays on the league, learned of Buster’s car troubles and wanted to help him.

Over the course of a few weeks, the community raised $2,000. A father, who owns a used car lot, donated a car for Buster.

“We wanted to make sure he was taken care of,” Ashworth told “Good Morning America.”

Recently, the rec league members and their families surprised Buster with a new car and $2,000 in gift cards.

Buster was at a loss.

“I will not ever forget this day as long as I live,” he can be heard saying in a video.

“The whole experience is a blessing, and I am very thankful and humble.”

As for the first place Buster drove his new car… he went to church.

What this community did for Lemuel Buster was incredibly generous. Buster didn’t ask for help, but when one community member heard he needed assistance everyone was willing to step up and help.

Share this story to thank Buster’s community for helping him get back on his feet.