Campus provides hurricane relief twice in one week

Once again Sam Houston State University opened the doors of the Johnson Coliseum to a fluctuating number of over 300 evacuees of the general public. Ab3 hosted the Houston Clearlake campus, both locations utilized as shelters during the mandatory evacuations from hurricane Ike.

On Friday the 12th the coliseum began taking people in for protection from the approaching storm.

“We were on call around Friday. We were never short on volunteers, anytime we needed to transport people with special needs we communicated well, and from our end we were well organized,” Nathan Fontaine, marketing coordinator, said.

Volunteers of professors, students, and staff worked hand in hand with the university coordinators, the Emergency Operation Center, the Red Cross, and the Angels in assisting the needs of each individual.

The county provided a medical team called the Angels that had nurses, doctors, and other care type personnel who were able to fill medical prescriptions for the evacuees.

“The Red Cross personnel take care of you by providing shelter and hot meals, but not true medical attention as these ‘Angels’ did,” Ed Chatel, assistant director said.

Volunteers aided in tasks like evacuee registration, door security, and whatever other responsibilities came about. They also aided in tasks for those with special needs such as checking oxygen tanks, and even setting up a kids play area.

“The student volunteers were amazing. We needed them and they came in numbers, and these were some not so fun tasks. There was one shift from 2 a.m.-8 a.m. and we had over 16 student volunteers,” Fontaine said.

There are no longer any shelters open to evacuees on the SHSU campus.

“We wrapped things up around 4 p.m. on Thursday, and AB3 shutdown Tuesday as well,” Chatel said.

The emergency operation center of the county sheriff’s office made the call to close the shelters on campus.

“Some of the evacuees left the Coliseum on Thursday to go back to their homes or they had family members to go to,” Chatel said.

Those with special needs were transported to an air force base in San Antonio.

The EOC and Red Cross consolidated shelters in town for those who were still in need of assistance, including: Huntsville High School, Manspark Middle School, Family Faith Church, Wesley Memorial United Methodist, and Fellowship of Huntsville Church.

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