Students Extend Helping Hand to Glade Tornado Victims
One of the first off-campus trips an Emory & Henry student makes upon arriving to college is to Glade Spring, Va. Whether it is for a hot dog at the gas station or a late night study session at the truck stop, Glade Spring, Va. has played a major role in the memories of countless students.
“We come to eat here, get our gas here, and this is where we spend all of our money,” said E&H senior Ed Smith.
So it was no surprise that the day after what the National Weather Service has confirmed as an EF-3 tornado hit Glade Spring, Smith and hundreds of other students made that drive to Glade Spring once again, but this time they came to lend a hand to their friends and neighbors.
E&H students spent much of Thursday afternoon helping individuals like Jay Majethia clean up the debris that dots much of the landscape around his business near the Interstate 81 off ramp of exit 29.
“We’re trying to make piles so that’s it’s easier for the crews to pick-up,” says Theo Holland, who is finishing up his first year at Emory & Henry.
Majethia is the General Manager of the Travel Inn, located behind the Giardino Pizzeria & Restaurant. As he picks up a room key hundreds of yards from his badly damaged building, he thinks back to the 10-year anniversary his business celebrated just one day earlier. Despite the devastation, he says the sight of these students helping him move forward is uplifting.
“It’s wonderful,” Majethia says with a small smile. “They pick up your spirit and they just want to contribute and help us get back on our feet.”
On a day previously set aside as a time to review before final exams begin, many students decided to trade in their school books for a pair of work gloves to aid those in need. The Appalachian Center for Community Service at Emory & Henry began coordinating van transportation for those students and others who wanted to help in clean-up efforts less than 12 hours after the tornado hit. The Appalachian Center will be coordinating a long-term response on behalf of the College community as more is learned about the needs of individuals affected by the disaster.
In addition, the King Center gymnasium is being used as an overflow shelter for area residents displaced by the tornado. Countless E&H students, staff and faculty volunteers are helping assemble cots, unload bottled water, and check in families.
“Your heart just goes out to the people. You know they are in trouble and they need help,” said sophomore Victoria Suttles.
To read more about the tornado and the Emory & Henry response you can check out the following Bristol Herald Courier articles.
Strength of Glade Spring storm confirmed: EF-3
E&H offers emergency shelter
Glade Spring apartment destruction affects E&H students
Also, E&H student Daniel Ohlman has made a touching video in support of the victims of the tornadoes in Southwest Virginia.