Dispatched from a staging area at the Wyoming County Emergency Management Agency office, more than 400 campus volunteers drove to neighboring towns, with some traveling on buses rented by BBC. Some cleanup supplies and equipment, such as wheelbarrows and shovels, were brought from the campus. The work crews tore out drywall, cleared out refuse, pulled down insulation, and demolished interior walls ruined by the floodwaters.
“A lot of students came and helped out a lot,” said Bob Guy, a resident of Tunkhannock and a volunteer with the American Red Cross. “They got off the buses, they pitched in, waded into the mud, and they did a fantastic job. The people of Mehoopany really appreciate it. They got a lot of stuff done and were very helpful.”
The college usually holds its annual Community Appreciation Day in October, but BBC’s Vice President and Provost Dr. Jim Lytle made a quick decision to move the event earlier, cancelling classes for a day so the students and faculty could assist with relief efforts.
“A neighbor shows compassion in times of need,” Lytle said. “We adjusted our schedule a little bit, a change that pales in comparison to what some in our surrounding community are living with. We hope to be some help in an area so terribly affected.”
President Barack Obama had issued a disaster declaration for the area in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Lee, which left more than 5,000 businesses and homes with flood-related damage. The Pennsylvania counties of Wyoming, Luzerne, and Susquehanna were the hardest hit, an area that is just north and west of BBC’s campus in Lackawanna County.