College of Health Sciences

West Chester University

Dr. Linda Adams, Dean
Sturzebecker Health Sciences Center
West Chester, PA 19383

Eight Years of Hurricane Relief: A Story of Service and Volunteerism

    In August 2005, Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast. It was the most damaging hurricane to ever strike the United States mainland. After it happened many groups volunteered to travel south to assist and aid victims of the storm. Dr. Gene White, a faculty member of East Stroudsburg University, put together a group of students and people involved with the PA State Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, who travelled down in January, 2006 and helped victims in Gulfport, Mississippi.

    Dr. John Helion, a faculty member in the Department of Kinesiology at West Chester and a colleague of Dr. White’s in the state association, thought it would be a great idea for students and faculty to get involved in this effort. He spoke with students from the Department of Kinesiology and the Honors College. In January, 2007, the first group of four people travelled to Pascagoula, Mississippi and joined with the East Stroudsburg group, assisting victims of the storm.

CHS students helping with disaster relief

    News of the trip spread. Students and faculty began to approach Dr. Helion about joining the trip. The trip grew and continues to grow. Dr. Helion has made the relief trip for the past eight years. In that time over 50 students and three faculty members have performed over 3500 hours of hurricane relief work. A number of students have made the trip several times. This work has taken the groups to Mississippi, Alabama (Hurricane Katrina) and North Carolina (Hurricane Irene). After the first year, the trip has been generously supported by the College of Health Sciences and the Honors College. But students and faculty both pay their way, giving both their time and money for the opportunity to help disaster victims. The trip will continue to be an annual event. Everyone involved has attested to the wonderful feeling derived by helping those in need. Unfortunately, there will always be people in need. If interested, please contact, Dr. John Helion, in the Department of Kinesiology