Students, staff take day to help flood victims

Helping flood victims address a range of needs -- from tearing out drywall to disposing of heavily damaged goods -- was the focus of BBC&S students, faculty, and staff on Thursday, September 15, with hundreds assisting affected residents in nearby Wyoming County, PA communities.

"They cleaned out the basement, pulled heavy insulation down, knocked walls down; it is a huge help," said Laura Heller, whose East Tioga Street rental property in Tunkhannock was largely underwater. "You're not just serving businesses, you're serving people."

Northeastern Pennsylvania was particularly hard hit by the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee. Nearly 5,400 businesses and homes sustained flood-related damage in Wyoming, Luzerne, and Susquehanna counties alone, areas north and west of BBC&S' home Lackawanna County.

Volunteers drove from campus to Tunkhannock, Mehoopany, and other areas, with some traveling on buses rented by BBC&S and others in passenger vehicles and trucks. Some cleanup supplies and equipment, such as wheelbarrows and shovels, were brought up from campus.

BBC&S From a staging area at the Wyoming County Emergency Management Agency office, groups went to various locations to serve. When work was completed in one area, or it turned out extensive work wasn't needed, students looked for locations to assist and found work.

See photos from the day at www.facebook.com/BaptistBible.

An Important Work Day
Those working in the Tunkhannock area were all over East Tioga Street, West Tioga Street, and Bridge Street, blocks from where the Susquehanna River sat passively on Thursday. A range of businesses were assisted, with students cleaning heavy timber at Herron Lumber Co., moving shelving and merchandise at Brick's Market, placing drywall at the Dietrich Theater, and removing flooring at Northeast Medical Sales.

"A lot of students came and helped out a lot," said Bob Guy, a resident of Tunkhannock and a volunteer with the American Red Cross. "They got off the buses, they pitched in, waded into the mud, and they did a fantastic job. The people of Mehoopany really appreciate it. They got a lot of stuff done and were very helpful."

South of Tunkhannock, volunteers assisted an elderly woman, taking out carpet, appliances, and a kitchen counter. They also removed insulation, shoveled mud into buckets, and pulled out items, including a sopping-wet sofa

"It was humbling because of the devastation," said Emily Gehman, a senior Counseling major from Oxford, MI. "I wasn't expecting to see a house completely destroyed on the inside. Everything was gone. It was sad."

Regular classes were cancelled for the day, enabling students, faculty, and staff to help with area relief and cleanup. BBC&S worked with the emergency agency as a starting point in tackling several cleanup efforts. The annual Community Appreciation Day, originally set for October 18, was moved to assist.

"Being on campus makes you feel too much like that's where you're centered," said Claudia Erway, a sophomore Business Administration major from Mansfield, PA. "It's good to leave campus, reach out to people, and be part of something, and see God working."

Baptist Bible College & Seminary offers an outstanding Christian education through on-campus, online, and other distance learning options. Students go beyond the ordinary, learning to learn and serve with excellence as they gain critical leadership and life skills.

To learn more, go to www.bbc.edu or call 570.586.2400.

Posted on: 9/15/2011 3:12:15 PM