76-year-old volleyball referee bursts into tears as teams surprise him with car

PHOTO: Lemuel Buster, a ref at Paulding County Parks and Recreation Department in Paulding County, Ga., walked out of the gym in early May 2019, and was met with a crowd of cheering community members.PlayCourtesy Paulding County Marshal Bureau
WATCH Volleyball referee bursts into tears as teams surprise him with car

A beloved volleyball referee cried happy tears as a group 10 teams and their families surprised him with a car.

Lemuel Buster, a ref at Paulding County Parks and Recreation Department in Paulding County, Georgia, walked out of the gym earlier this month and was met with a crowd of cheering community members.

"You guys are very important to me," Buster can be heard saying in a video after accepting the generous gift. "Thank you."

Buster, a grandfather and veteran who played volleyball himself in the Navy, has been refereeing at the recreation department since it opened last year. But after 76-year-old's car broke down, he was renting one to ensure he'd never miss a game.

PHOTO: Lemuel Buster, a referee at Paulding County Parks and Recreation Department in Paulding County, Ga., walked out of the gym in early May 2019, and was met with a crowd of cheering community members. Courtesy Paulding County Marshal Bureau
Lemuel Buster, a referee at Paulding County Parks and Recreation Department in Paulding County, Ga., walked out of the gym in early May 2019, and was met with a crowd of cheering community members.
PHOTO: Paulding County community members came together and donated a Chyrysler Sebring convertible to Lemuel Buster, a referee at Paulding County Parks and Recreation Department in Georgia. Courtesy Paulding County Marshal Bureau
Paulding County community members came together and donated a Chyrysler Sebring convertible to Lemuel Buster, a referee at Paulding County Parks and Recreation Department in Georgia.

"He's a good man," said Leslie Ashworth, a mom of two whose 13-year-old plays on a team reffed by Buster. "He cares about the girls. He asks my daughter, 'Hey, did your serve get better?' He pays attention and actually enjoys it."

PHOTO: Lemuel Buster, a referee at Paulding County Parks and Recreation Department in Paulding County, Ga., walked out of the gym in early May 2019, and was met with a crowd of cheering community members. Courtesy Paulding County Marshal Bureau
Lemuel Buster, a referee at Paulding County Parks and Recreation Department in Paulding County, Ga., walked out of the gym in early May 2019, and was met with a crowd of cheering community members.

Ashworth told "GMA" that Buster had informed her that his car died. Since it couldn't be repaired, he rented a car to get back and forth to games.

Ashworth and the Paulding County community members began collecting donations. One of the fathers who owns a used car lot donated a Chyrysler Sebring convertible to be gifted to Buster. Minor fixes were made to the vehicle so Buster wouldn't have anything to worry about.

PHOTO: In early May, after a game in Mount Taber Park, team members and their families surprised referee Lemuel Buster with a car and $2,000 in gift card donations. Courtesy Paulding County Marshal Bureau
In early May, after a game in Mount Taber Park, team members and their families surprised referee Lemuel Buster with a car and $2,000 in gift card donations.
PHOTO: Lemuel Buster, a referee at Paulding County Parks and Recreation Department in Paulding County, Ga., walked out of the gym in early May 2019, and was met with a crowd of cheering community members. Courtesy Paulding County Marshal Bureau
Lemuel Buster, a referee at Paulding County Parks and Recreation Department in Paulding County, Ga., walked out of the gym in early May 2019, and was met with a crowd of cheering community members.

"We wanted to make sure he was taken care of," Ashworth said.

In early May, after a game in Mount Taber Park, team members and their families surprised Buster with the car and $2,000 in gift card donations.

PHOTO: Lemuel Buster, 76, is a grandfather and veteran who played volleyball himself in the Navy. Courtesy Paulding County Marshal Bureau
Lemuel Buster, 76, is a grandfather and veteran who played volleyball himself in the Navy.

"He was just blown away," Ashworth said. "He cried, we all cried."

PHOTO: Lemuel Buster, a ref at Paulding County Parks and Recreation Department in Paulding County, Ga., walked out of the gym in early May 2019, and was met with a crowd of cheering community members. Courtesy Paulding County Marshal Bureau
Lemuel Buster, a ref at Paulding County Parks and Recreation Department in Paulding County, Ga., walked out of the gym in early May 2019, and was met with a crowd of cheering community members.

"The whole experience," Buster told "GMA," "is a blessing, and I am very thankful and humble."