|SHSU President Jim Gaertner (center) admires a plaque recognizing the core group of volunteer leaders who have coordinated a variety of responsibilities for university personnel during recent hurricanes. They include (from left): Craig Schlicher, Larry Brown, Kevin Morris, Ed Chatal, Daniel Martinez, Gaertner, Keith Jenkins, Keri Rogers Joellen Tipton, Rosanne Keathley, Dan McDaniel, Dick Eglsaer, Mark Adams and Jaimie Hebert. Not pictured are Santel Frazier and Robert Smith. --- Photo by Brian Blalock|
The mood was considerably less intense at a gathering of Sam Houston State University volunteers Tuesday than it was a couple of months ago when they were performing various duties associated with hurricanes Gustav and Ike.
The group was brought together again as the Division of Student Services hosted a Volunteer Appreciation Lunch in the Lowman Student Center Ballroom for those “whose public service during hurricanes Gustav and Ike and the aftermath exceeded the hopes of the University community.”
“Your actions during the hurricanes and afterwards demonstrated a real feeling of family and giving which is characteristic of Sam Houston State,” SHSU President Jim Gaertner told the approximately 110 volunteers who attended the luncheon.
“To the student volunteers, I appreciate your willingness to be involved and be associated with something bigger than yourself,” he said.
Gaertner also thanked the faculty and staff volunteers for taking time during the hurricanes to be away from their families and homes so they could help others.
Vice President for Student Services Frank Parker expressed his appreciation for the work done by the volunteers and recognized Keith Jenkins, who served as the incident commander during the storms.
“Every single contribution was critical to the success of our operation,” Jenkins told the volunteers. “Not only did you step up to the plate, you hit a home run.”
Those who attended the lunch reminisced about their experiences at various locations during the storms. Some of the volunteers worked at one shelter on campus during the day and traveled to a different shelter off campus to help at night. Volunteers also shared stories about working with evacuees of the non-human variety --- pets.
“I Survived Hurricane Ike” and “Rock You Like A Hurricane” T-shirts were given to volunteers as a token of appreciation.
Last week, a plaque featuring the names and a picture of the core leadership of volunteers was placed in the Bearkat Lounge in Bernard G. Johnson Coliseum. The room has been used as the “command center” during hurricanes.
Gaertner noted that the leaders had been called into action not only through the two most recent hurricanes, but had also provided direction through hurricanes Katrina and Rita three years ago.
Members of the leadership group include: Mark Adams, Larry Brown, Ed Chatal, Dick Eglsaer, Santel Frazier, Jaimie Hebert, Rosanne Keathley, Daniel Martinez, Kevin Morris, Keri Rogers, Craig Schlicher, Robert Smith and Joellen Tipton.
Approximately 300 individuals representing Sam Houston State University served as volunteers throughout the Huntsville community during the storms.
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"The measure of a Life is its Service."