Sam Houston State University Division of Students Services applauded both students and staff for their volunteer efforts during Hurricanes Gustav and Ike and the aftermath, in an appreciation luncheon held this past Tuesday in the LSC ballroom.
The luncheon began with words of gratitude from representatives of the University.
“I would like to echo what Dr. [James] Gaertner said. We appreciate everybody stepping up to the plate,” Vice President of Student Services Frank Parker said.
A round of applause ended the introduction, bringing students to a display of sandwiches, cookies and free T-shirts in a sea of round tables cloaked in white. In the midst were the whispers of tales of a time so unlike the present moment.
“I enjoy it just because it gives us a time to reflect back on how everything was so chaotic, and yet you still saw people that you normally wouldn’t have worked with coming together and saying ‘hey do you need a hand’,” graduating senior Elke Eisenhauer said.
Approximately 130 familiar faces could be seen in ballroom of the LSC.
“Some don’t want to be thanked and some have class,” Parker said.”We probably had about 250 volunteers. This is just our way of saying that when a hurricane happens, Sam Houston State opens its doors, and it wouldn’t be possible without these people.”
Parker spoke highly of what Dean of Students John Yarabeck calls the “out on a limb crew”.
“There were students talking in the cafeteria, and they were saying they were bored and I said ‘well if you’re bored lets go clean your stuff’,” Yarabek said. “Some of them took me up on it, so we just did it. We picked up for about three hours, a bunch of fallen trees and limbs; maintenance said we probably saved them about a day’s worth by doing that. There was about 18-20 of us all students and myself. We had a lot of fun doing it.”
Kristi Kreier of the criminal justice department said she had fun working with the students.
“To know you could help other people was rewarding,” she said.
David Epps of the emergency response team for the criminal response center says he is willing to lend a hand whenever he is needed.
“I think everybody did a great job, compared to Rita this was a breeze, pardon the pun,” David Epps said. “I really appreciate them recognizing that there were people, not just myself, but a lot of people who did a lot of work and that shows just what kind of community we have.”
Kevin Jenkins, Rec Sports Director, says the volunteer effort was superb.
“Everybody did a great job, beyond a great job,” he said. “We hear sometimes a lot of head honchos talking about Bearkat pride or Bearkat spirit; well pride is really seeing a group of people who have never known each other step up to the plate.”