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Blinn students lend a hand in Hurricane Harvey aftermath

Students in Blinn’s Physical Therapist Assistant, Veterinary Technology, and Vocational Nursing programs put skills to work in hurricane recovery, rebuilding

September 27, 2017

In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, students and faculty from Blinn College’s Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA), Veterinary Technology, and Brenham Campus Vocational Nursing programs recently put their skills to work to help those in need.

PTA Program Director Dr. Christy Gantt postponed a day of instruction to send her entire class of first-year students to Kingwood, northeast of Houston, to assist with housing demolitions. Though voluntary, all 25 students opted to attend the service trip.

“Our program is filled with eager, able-bodied individuals who are always willing to lend a helping hand,” Gantt said. “It was dirty, wet, and challenging work, but they never lost their patience or compassion.”

Blinn students lend a hand in Hurricane Harvey aftermath

Armed with their own tools and cleaning supplies, the group split up among seven houses, removing the interior of all its contents, including furniture, cabinets, sheetrock, and insulation. Some ventured outside to clean debris strewn across the yards.

“It was a very eye-opening experience,” PTA student Jesus Espinoza said. “We have heard about the devastation in the news, but when we saw it in person, it really put it in perspective. In addition to physical labor, we were able to provide emotional support they need during this difficult time.”

The all-day trip was coordinated by PTA Instructor Jennifer Lyons, whose family resides in the Kingwood neighborhood. Lyons and several PTA students who were affected by the flooding were thankful to have a break from classes to help those in need.

“Kingwood is my hometown, so it was hard being in Bryan-College Station while many people I know lost everything to the floods,” PTA student Ruth Lee said. “It was very special to me that our program came together to help out.”

“It reflects very well on Blinn College as a whole to allow us to take an entire day off to serve others,” PTA student Victoria Blackwell added. “I am proud to say that I attend a college that played a role in the hurricane recovery and rebuilding process.”

Blinn students lend a hand in Hurricane Harvey aftermath

In addition to the PTA Program, two students in Blinn’s Veterinary Technology Program – Calli Jabin and Erica Thompson – accompanied Instructor Sheila Gibler to Beaumont to provide medical care for animals rescued by emergency responders. A member of the Texas A&M Veterinary Emergency Team (VET), Gibler was deployed for five days in Houston before joining Jabin and Thompson in Beaumont for three days.

“Calli and Erica gained valuable, hands-on experience by assisting veterinarians in providing veterinary medical care to both small and large animals rescued during the flooding,” she said. “They also helped with decontaminating flood water for the animals and provided comfort during stressful times.”

In Gibler’s five years with the VET, she has been deployed two other times: the Blanco River flooding in 2015 and the Brazos River flooding in 2016.

Calli Jabin

Faculty and alumni of the Brenham Campus Vocational Nursing Program assisted in evacuating a La Grange nursing home that received substantial flooding. The residents were moved to a nearby shelter before being transported to a long-term care facility in Marlin.

Blinn’s Division of Health Sciences is still collecting donations for individuals in Rockport. Donated items are being accepted from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the second floor of the Health Science Center Clinical Building I, located at 8447 State Highway 47 in Bryan.

Registration is available for Blinn’s second eight-week Fall classes. For enrollment information, visit: www.blinn.edu.