MCTC Takes Action to Help Neighbors Affected by Tornadoes

image of MCTC participants helping out at soup kitchenMorehead, KY (April 13, 2012) In the wake of the tornadoes that damaged parts of our region on March 2, the instructors, staff members, and students of Maysville Community and Technical College set out to help people in need throughout the area as well as those within the college family.

The Rowan Campus in Morehead pooled resources to support West Liberty and the surrounding communities with immediate assistance.

Our faculty and staff members met the Monday following the devastating storms that hit Menifee and Morgan counties, said Rowan Campus Director Russ Ward. We discussed how we, as a college campus community, could assist in the relief efforts while maintaining our regular daily services. We also wanted to provide our students who were affected with some normalcy in this time of crisis.

One part of the plan was to help out right next door at the Community Soup Kitchen, which had started sending out two extra meals a day to storm victims. Students, instructors, and staff members, many of whom had been volunteering since its opening, devoted some extra time to meal preparation and delivery.

One example is the Office System Technology and Medical Information Technical students and instructors.

The students began volunteering at the Kitchen before the tornadoes as part of a community service project for a class, said Melissa Carroll, Business professor at MCTC. I knew this was a life changing experience for them when they stopped by my office to share stories from their exciting first day of volunteer work at the Kitchen. And they are continuing to volunteer.

Practical Nursing students and instructors from the Rowan Campus and the Montgomery Extension in Mount Sterling joined business students in serving at the Community Soup Kitchen in addition to delivering meals. These students also hosted a kettle drive to purchase needed infant care and cleaning supplies.

Medical Assisting students reached out in a very personal way to help their neighbors and friends in need by cleaning up homes hit by the tornadoes and volunteering at an emergency shelter.

Instructors and students from the Industrial Technologies Division also assisted with clearing roadways and disaster sites.

With the support of members from MCTCs other campuses and extensions, $3,000 was raised to help the Community Soup Kitchen continue serving meals. Students and employees from the Licking Valley Campus in Cynthiana and the Donald W. Kiser Paris extension went out of their way to deliver pillows, blankets, food, and other supplies to the West Liberty area.

We came together as a family to meet our mission of being the community's college, said Ward. We did our best to help those who needed our assistance and will continue to do so until those counties are back on their feet.

Wards band, Rusted Clay, also participated in a community benefit concert to raise funds for relief efforts.

Students, instructors, and staff members on MCTCs Maysville Campus volunteered their time cleaning up in the Pendleton County area. MCTC Associate Professor Alex Hyrcza helped organize a volunteer coordination center in Peach Grove during the week following the storms.

We organized over one thousand workers in seven days, said Hyrcza, who also serves as Bracken County Emergency Deputy Director, and Search and Rescue Coordinator. Personally, it was very humbling to see the resiliency of the people whose homes were totally destroyed. I was amazed by the concern that the fire fighters whose own homes had been destroyed had for their fellow citizens.

Hope Tyson-Rabe, assistant to MCTC's President Ed Story, also served at the coordination center in Peach Grove.

It was truly heartbreaking to see the struggles of so many families and see the devastation in these counties, said Tyson-Rabe. At MCTC, we have always said we are the community's college. But, nothing shows that more than when our communities are in need and we all pull together to do what we can to help.

Maysville students, including those in the Nursing Assistant Program, took the initiative to help out as well. Many of the students collected money to purchase needed supplies while also taking the time to clean up and serve food in areas affected by the storms.

There continues to be an outpouring of support from faculty, staff, and students from MCTC for our friends in the affected areas, said MCTC President Ed Story. I am grateful to serve with such empathetic co-workers. Our hope is that each community will return stronger than before the storms.