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The historic flooding that occurred last week in southeastern West Virginia caused millions of dollars worth of damage and ruined the homes and livelihoods of many West Virginians, including many Shepherd University students living in that part of the state. Those of us at Shepherd and in the Eastern Panhandle were fortunate that we were not affected by the destruction caused by the flood.

Shepherd is asking our alumni, donors, and friends to contribute to the fundraising effort, Student Relief Fund–To Aid Shepherd Students Affected by the Flood. Many of our students, as well as incoming freshmen, have lost their homes and possessions. Their family members have lost their income due to the destruction of their workplaces, and the students themselves may need assistance with tuition to attend Shepherd this fall.

The Shepherd Student Relief Fund is designed to help students continue their educational goals and not delay attending during the fall semester.

You can donate to the Shepherd Student Relief Fund in several ways:

Your Gift Makes a Difference

JacobBailesJacob Bailes

Nicholas County
Communications and Digital Media Major

Jacob’s house was not flooded, but his mom works at the Rite Aid in Richwood.

“When the storm was hitting, the floodwater got so bad inside that it collapsed Rite Aid on top of my mom and the other coworkers inside,” Jacob said. “The fire department had to go inside and help them out.”

Jacob’s mom is fine but her hours have been cut to only about eight hours a week, making paying the family’s bills difficult. His dad works at a boiler operating plant Jeldwen.

“We were relying on my mom’s paycheck and my dad’s paycheck because of bills with the house and the cars and trying to get me to school and everything like that,” he said. “I got a job on campus with the grounds crew to help my dad out with the bills and everything back home.”

Jacob was originally planning to go home Thursday, June 30 for the weekend then come back for summer session two, but his mom told him it would be safer to stay at Shepherd. Residence life worked with him so he can move into Printz Hall early. Jacob is concerned about paying for school.

“It’s going to be a little bit tough,” he said. “I’m just trying to make it with what I’ve got at this point and just keep moving forward and doing what I can.”

Jacob thinks it’s important to help college students who are impacted by the flood.

“The reason I think it’s important is because you never know what’s going to happen, and it can happen in an instance like this flood did,” he said. “Seeing how it was a pure natural disaster and it could not have been avoided, these students may have been having problems to begin with or they may now be having some serious difficulties coming back because of the weather. I think it would be an awesome thing for the university to be able to help fund these students when they come back.”

Kahlen Browning

Bolt, Raleigh CountyKahlinBrowning
Business Administration Major

Raleigh County was not impacted as badly as some of the other counties.

“This flood is halting the progress students can be making. Shepherd’s student emergency fund is helping people who acutally want to make a difference in their community. You help the students now, and they’ll stay in West Virginia to help later on. College is something that’s very expensive, especially for many who live in the areas affected by the flood. If even a portion of tuition is covered by this fund, education becomes more accessible, which is what the students honestly need.”

DevinSpinksDevin Spinks

Summersville, Nicholas County
International Studies Major

“In 2016 it’s so important to have an education. Just because a natural disaster has occurred doesn’t mean that someone shouldn’t be given the same opportunity as others. I know that some students have lost everything and are trying to pick themselves back up and start after such a traumatic experience, it’s very important for them to continue as if everything is fine, to go back to the life that they know and love, to get their education, and be able to contribute to the workforce and maybe in the future contribute be able to help other students who have had similar experiences.”