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Liberty News

Update: Students dispatched to help with tornado cleanup

April 16, 2018 : Liberty University News Service

Liberty University students continued relief efforts this week following severe weather that struck the Lynchburg area and surrounding counties this weekend.

The National Weather Service (NWS) Blacksburg Office confirmed that an EF3 tornado left a 20-mile trail of destruction in the City of Lynchburg and Amherst and Campbell counties. The City of Danville was struck by an EF1 tornado, according to NWS.

On Tuesday night, the Residential Annex was reopened as temporary housing for those displaced by the storm.

LU Send Now, the university’s disaster relief initiative, dispatched a team of 20 students to Danville to continue cleanup efforts alongside Southern Baptist Convention of Virginia’s Disaster Relief team.  Another team of 11 students was sent to assist residents in the Elon community in Amherst County. The teams will continue relief efforts tomorrow.

Storm relief efforts will be incorporated into Serve Lynchburg this Friday and Saturday as students will help assist local residents and organizations such as HumanKind, the Salvation Army, Lynchburg Parks and Recreation, and Lynchburg City Schools.

Read the original story below.



Liberty students support the Central Va. community after severe storms

04/16/2018 : By Tobi Walsh Laukaitis/Liberty University News Service

Only hours after severe thunderstorms rolled through Lynchburg and the surrounding counties causing tornado-like damage to homes and businesses, Liberty University School of Nursing Assistant Professor Dr. Dana Woody and a handful of students were at Thomas Road Baptist Church helping to set up an emergency shelter for those affected.

Woody teaches community nursing and is the State Nursing Leader for the American Red Cross.

“I’m overwhelmed and encouraged to see our students who have a heart to serve our community,” Woody said. “In our community health class, we talk about Red Cross response in disaster situations like this. Now our students get to put what they learned into action.”

On Sunday night, a severe thunderstorm produced large wind gusts and heavy rain that caused major damage to local homes and businesses. Approximately 14,000 residents are currently without power and the City of Lynchburg saw hundreds of downed powerlines and trees. In Amherst County, just 20 minutes away from campus, many homes were damaged or destroyed in the Elon community. The National Weather Service Blacksburg Office is currently assessing whether a tornado touched down in the affected areas.

Woody sent an email on Sunday night to all the students in her community nursing class asking for volunteers. Senior Anna Lee answered the call after surveying the damage near her apartment on Timberlake Road.

“I drove in the rain to get to campus,” Lee said. “It was really amazing to see all these people here ready to help any way they could.”

During the night, only one resident used the shelter, but about a dozen nursing students signed up to take four-hour shifts throughout Monday.

“None of these students had to come out and volunteer,” Woody said. “This is something that they wanted to do.”

According to senior Leah Wright, students had just taken a test on disaster relief response in their community nursing class last week.

“It was great that we got to apply that knowledge we were just tested on to a real-life situation,” Wright said. “It just gives us more skills as we develop as nurses.”

Senior Emma Shepard said she was excited to see students and the community respond to help those in need.

“It’s very unique,” Shepard said of the nursing program’s response. “In our program they teach us to be the hands and feet of Jesus and instill in us the value of serving. I don’t think a lot of nursing programs do that.”

Thousands more students had the opportunity to help those in their local area. An offering was taken during Monday morning’s Convocation, where students collected about $5,000. (Students can also text “GIVE” to 24502 to donate.)

LU Send Now, the university’s disaster relief initiative, will dispatch a team of 20 students to work alongside the Southern Baptist Convention on clean-up efforts in the cities of Lynchburg and Danville, as well as Amherst County, starting Wednesday. Teams will continue to assist SBC throughout the week.

On Friday and Saturday, storm relief-centered projects will be incorporated into the already planned Serve Lynchburg, an annual service blitz by Liberty students, faculty, and staff to give back to the greater Lynchburg community. More than 2,000 participants are already signed up to help at various sites throughout the city.

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