When Liberty University opened its doors to the community after severe windstorms left close to three-fourths of residents in the Lynchburg, Va., area without power a few weeks ago, many Liberty employees went above and beyond to serve those affected.
Liberty honored those employees during a luncheon in the Williams Stadium tower on Wednesday.
Neal Askew, Liberty’s executive vice president, recognized employees who put in extra hours, many giving up planned time off to go beyond the call of duty, including staff from the Liberty University Police Department, Housing Office, Auxiliary Services, Field Operations/Facilities, and Sodexo (Liberty’s dining services provider).
“You didn’t have to do a lot of what you did. You made a lot of people’s lives better,” he told them. “It’s a wonderful thing to be a lighthouse to the community and reach out and help people when they’re in need.”
When the storms hit on Friday, June 29, and temperatures continued to hover near 100, Liberty took immediate action by opening its facilities to the public. About 2,000 people were housed in Liberty’s residence halls; about 100 were out-of-area electrical workers unable to find hotel rooms when they arrived in town to respond to the widespread outage. Because the school was in the middle of a summer maintenance plan for the residence halls, staff from the Housing Office and Facilities kicked into high gear, working around the clock to open rooms to people in need. They coordinated with workers at nearby Thomas Road Baptist Church to make sure families had a cool place to stay.
Liberty’s laundry facilities were also opened to the public. The LaHaye Student Union accommodated thousands of guests who came to use restrooms, showers, and computers. Liberty staff also scrambled to open the third floor of the football stadium tower, the indoor track, and the LaHaye Ice Center for cooling stations.
Sodexo quickly opened up the campus dining hall to the public, offering meals at $3 for adults; kids and emergency services workers ate for free. More than 15,000 meals were served. Bags of ice were also distributed.
As a recipient of the employees’ service to his own family that week, Ron Kennedy, senior vice president for Marketing, said he was grateful. The Marketing Department has led Liberty’s You Matter campaign, a new, university-wide initiative to provide faculty and staff with the resources needed to carry out the university’s mission to be used by God to change lives.
“We can put logos and images to what we’re trying to do from an internal branding standpoint, but to me this is exactly what the essence of the You Matter campaign is about — it’s not your job that changes lives, you do,” Kennedy said. “You went above and beyond your job to make people in the community feel welcome and comfortable.”
Liberty University employees honored for power outage relief efforts:
William D. Bishop
Mark Creasey II
Charles Norman Holmes
Jeffrey D. Miles
John C. Zacharias
MEDIA NOTE: Photos of Liberty University’s relief efforts can be downloaded at this link (use password: liberty): http://luphoto.photoshelter.com/gallery/Disaster-Relief/G0000nN.eJh1iewQ/C0000v3.IP.HKPLY