BY JIM STEELE
As Dresden, Kenton, Samburg and Mayfield, Kentucky, try to raise the Phoenix from the ashes after deadly tornadoes ravaged the area on December 10, the University of Tennessee at Martin is doing its part to help the recovery.
UTM Chancellor Dr. Keith Carver expressed awe over how serendipitous the school transitioned from educational institution to recovery command center.
“We had (fall-term) graduation Saturday and as soon as that was over, we handed the keys over to the Red Cross,” Carver said.
Since then, about 50 Red Cross volunteers are staying in residence hall.
“We also are providing them space in the University Center so they can have a command center,” Carver said. “We’ve given them storage space and use of the loading docks, too.”
To the chancellor’s knowledge, there weren’t any displaced individuals or families housed by UTM.
“I don’t think we had any displaced people stay with us, but I don’t think we were approached to do that, either,” Carver said.
The Weakley County School System began making facilities available to storm victims just 45 minutes after the storm moved through Dresden.
The UT Martin athletics department also has gotten into the act. During recent games following the storm, fans were admitted to the game if they provided a donation to those in need. Blankets, water, food, clothing got fans through the gate.
“We wanted to help the effort and get these items to folks in need,” said Carver.
Carver expects the Red Cross to be at UTM for a while, but he also expects Skyhawk students to play a role in the recovery.
“When we have some organized student groups back on campus, they’ll help with the cleanup if they can.”
The chancellor quickly pointed out that this isn’t some sort of self-aggrandizement scheme orchestrated by the campus.
“We aren’t doing any of this for a pat on the back,” Carver said. “We’re doing this because it’s the right thing to do.”