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Students serve Hurricane Sandy vicitims

by: University Relations

Marcus DavisCollege students from across the state, including 10 students from Charleston Southern University, will spend their first week of Christmas break traveling to New Jersey on a Hurricane Sandy Disaster Relief Mission trip. The initial plan was to send a group of 50 students, but on Wednesday night 155 college students will board chartered buses in Columbia, South Carolina en route to Staten Island to give the gift of help to those affected by last month’s devastating hurricane.

Ken Owens, director of the South Carolina Baptist Collegiate Ministry, said, “This generation of students has a hearty for their faith to be authentic. This is one more expression of how they are doing this. It does not surprise me with response.”

The college students will be located in Staten Island with the area North American Mission Board (NAMB). Owens said 15 teams with approximately 10 students each will be working with trained team leaders who are experienced in disaster relief. The mission teams will primarily be assigned to “mud out” structures or property damaged by the storm.

Marcus Davis, a junior Religion major at Charleston Southern University, has never been part of a disaster relief effort but he is certainly familiar with disaster. During his freshman year in high school Davis’ family home was destroyed by fire. He lost everything.

“I am anxious and excited,” said Davis. ““I had been praying for opportunities to serve.”

Freshman Emily Sizemore experienced suffered a similar disaster when her family home was destroyed by fire. The Duncan, S.C. native was in 6th grade, but the memories are still fresh in her mind.

“It was a numbing experience,” she said. “A safe place is no longer there (in New Jersey), and no longer safe and is no longer home for people, it makes me sad.” Sizemore, a freshman nursing student at Charleston Southern, added, “That’s why I’m in nursing. I really have a call on my heart to help people in need.”

Ethan TempletonCSU sophomore Ethan Templeton has never been further North than Washington, D.C. but said, “It’s a way to go and serve people who are genuinely need,” said Templeton, who added, “Underwater houses…that’s the first thing I think of when I think of Hurricane Sandy.”

Owens was humbled by the overwhelming response by college students willing to serve during the holiday break.

“Hoping more college students will understand and see importance and value,” said Owens. “They will next generation of disaster relief leaders and volunteers.”

The Hurricane Sandy disaster relief effort is funded through the South Carolina Baptist Convention and the NAMB. According to Owens, the college students on the trip will be housed on a Staten Island-based church site in industrial size tents with shower trailers. A disaster relief feeding unit has been established in the church kitchen and a medical unit and nurse will be on site daily.

Charleston Southern students Marcus Davis, Ethan Templeton, Bryan Williams, Alejandro Moreno, Emily Sizemore, Amy Rumble, Scottie Smith, Jake King, Case Horton and Joy Currence will leave Columbia Wednesday (December 12) and return on December 18.

In addition to Charleston Southern, students from Coastal Carolina, Francis Marion, SC State, Winthrop University, Anderson University, Greenville Tech, College of Charleston, Citadel, North Greenville, Lander and Clemson will participate in the mission trip.

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