RMC aids to help Hurricane Harvey victims, Feature by Cheyenne Lira

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The people of Texas and the surrounding states have been enduring Hurricane Harvey’s wrath since Aug. 25.  According to the Weather Channel, the last Category 4 storm that devastated the Texas Coastal Bend occurred in 1886. In an article from the washingtonpost.com, as of Sept. 14, the Hurricane Harvey death toll has risen to 82.

Numerous charities and organizations have been giving aid to the victims of the tropical storm, including students and staff from Rocky Mountain College.

Two years ago, members of RMC’s Spiritual Life and Community Engagement traveled to Salt Lake City, Utah, to volunteer with the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). During this service trip, volunteers put together health kits that contained basic hygiene items that people need but may forget to pack while in distress.

During the first week of Hurricane Harvey’s terror, chaplain Kim Woeste, was informed by UMCOR that all of packages that students made were being sent to Houston and the surrounding counties to help relieve hurricane victims.

“The communication was really nice. We went there and made kits that could go anywhere in the world. The fact that this stayed local and concretely helped someone that we could potentially know was a great feeling. We know the kits aren’t just stuck in the warehouse and it was just great to know that our work had an impact,” said Woeste.

Following the news UMCOR passed on to Woeste, Spiritual Life and the Office of Community Engagement held an informational meeting where they discussed helping hurricane victims further. At the meeting, volunteers made about 12 more health kits. It is uncertain if the health kits will be shipped off to Texas or to the UMCOR warehouse. UMCOR is currently out of health kits and needs to restock their inventory to help other victims of natural disasters.

The Office of Community Engagement and Spiritual Life are not the only groups on campus that have helped victims of the natural disaster. Rocky’s women’s basketball coach, Wes Keller, has also taken the initiative to help those affected.

Keller explained that he saw the University of Houston head basketball coach Kelvin Sampson’s request for help on Twitter. Sampson’s tweet stated, “I have had so many of my friends call … and ask what they can do to help. Well I came up with something. I think coaches at all levels can help, both men’s and women’s HS (high school), JC (junior college), D1, D2, D3, and NAIA [coaches].”

The rest of the tweet asked for a certain number of shirts and shoes. If the request could not be met, Sampson asked coaches to send any items they had available. Keller explained that Sampson has ties to Montana. Sampson used to coach basketball at Montana Tech.

Keller said, “The assistant coach sent out an email to the rest of the athletic department, then him and I rounded up the gear.” “We only played a small part. We sent out about 50 shirts and jackets total,” added Keller.

The RMC teams that donated gear were men and women’s basketball, track and field, and volleyball.

While many large organizations have been doing their part, one may say that it is humbling knowing that their small college has put in effort to have a large impact on those in need.  

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