In 37 days, volunteers in Dallas served 113,000 meals, distributed more than 30,000 items of clothing, provided 5,600 health and medical services and put in more than 122,000 hours of work for more than 10,000 Hurricane Harvey evacuees.
City officials took time in December to honor representatives of various groups who contributed during the crisis, and West Coast University-Dallas assistant professor Stephanie Ayers received an invite to be recognized at City Hall.
Ayers and a group of WCU nursing students and alumni volunteered at local Red Cross shelters providing medical assistance and other support that was needed. The event also inspired several WCU students to enroll with the Red Cross in order to be able to help immediately in the event of another emergency.
“The outpouring of support from the Dallas community and across North Texas was truly inspiring. In the days and weeks after Harvey’s devastation, you stood with families who came to Dallas with little more than the clothes on their backs. The nation watched as neighbors helped neighbors, providing them with food, shelter, clothing, encouragement and hope,” Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said in the invitation. “On behalf of the City of Dallas, we would like to recognize your organization and express our gratitude to you for your generous assistance.”
After the mayor's recognition in the City Council Chambers, WCU-Dallas Dean of Nursing Helen Johnstone and Ayers went downstairs in City Hall to the Office of Emergency Preparedness and presented a $5,000 donation from WCU to the CERT Board of Trustees.
Dallas CERT trains citizens to respond to emergencies and partners with the city of Dallas’ Office of Emergency Management, fire-rescue and police departments.
A few days before the Hurricane Harvey event, WCU’s Fall 2017 disaster management class had its final Disaster Drill over the weekend. The same day as the City Hall ceremony, the WCU students conducted their disaster group presentations on the fifth and sixth floor lobby areas on campus for three hours.
“I’m so pleased that West Coast University will be recognized for assisting in the relief efforts during Hurricane Harvey,” Ayers said, “and a huge ‘thank you” to the city of Dallas CERT program for helping train our students to respond when our community is in need, because, that’s just what we do.”