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Location: Building 1-C123

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SPC Members Respond to…

St. Philip's College members have been involved on the front lines and behind the scenes in the Hurricane Harvey response that coincided with the first week of class. Here are a few of their stories.
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SPC Members Respond to Hurricane Harvey

St. Philip's College members have been involved on the front lines and behind the scenes in the Hurricane Harvey response that coincided with the first week of class. Here are a few of their stories.

Several health science program directors have contacted counterpart programs in Houston and Corpus Christi to offer academic support to their programs that includes the loan of text books that might have been damaged in the weather event. College occupational therapy assistant program director Kathryn Freeman has reached out to two community colleges offering occupational therapy assistant programs in Houston. Lone Star Community College in Kingswood's program is on the first floor of a building, and no one can get in to assess the damage," said Freeman. “I've communicated with them. We will send books and such as necessary to teach their level one and level two students this semester," said Freeman. "I've reached out to Houston Community College to extend similar help," Freeman said.

College medical lab program director Terry Murphy-Sanchez usually has many veterans in her program, but fewer this year than most. Still, Murphy-Sanchez says one of her first-year students, Stacy King, is, along with her 15 year old son, serving as a Red Cross volunteer in Houston instead of being present for class. "We're always concerned about the Guard and Reserve students in our program, but this semester we are especially concerned about Stacy and her son. This hurricane response by Stacy King has shown what our students are contributing to society beyond being our students, and being members of the first responder community," said Murphy-Sanchez.

New college physical therapy assistant program director Tunetha Parchem has been in touch with her counterparts at Wharton Community College and at Lonestar Community College, and shares that many while Wharton “is okay,” many classes at Wharton are being delayed, and many students at Lonestar have not been accounted for, and that Lonestar classes are delayed. "Some of the information I received came in an email chain that was forwarded to me. I have not received any call to action where I can assist them at this time, because the situation is in development," Parchem said.

Alicia Stolte is an advisor transitioning from the health science account at the college to advising students who are veterans. Her health science colleagues and her veterans services colleagues report that Stolte went online and purchased a boat on Wednesday (Aug. 27). When Stolte is not living in a tent at Katy Mills Parkway, she is a volunteer, boating animals and their owners from the perils of the hurricane and its aftermath, said vocational nursing department chair Veronica Furlow and veterans services director Javier Barron.

One Level 1 Licensed Vocational Nursing program student and two Level 3 students in the LVN program, names not immediately available, are stranded in Houston, and in contact with their department, said Furlow.

St. Philip's College unveiled two first-time initiatives underway this week to help people impacted in different ways by Hurricane Harvey, and one is helping all first responders keep their college educations on track http://www.alamo.edu/spc/hurricane-relief/. The college has web, email and phone lines set up so that these students--or family members if the student is unable to get around to calling the college---can talk case-by-case about how to begin school later in the Fall 2017 semester, and keep the educations they have paid for on track, according to Dr. Mordecai Brownlee, the college's vice president of student success.

An undetermined number of students who are first responders volunteered to help during a first week of school that they might have paid for with personal funds or employment-related education benefits. Where feasible, the college wants the first responders to serve without benefit penalty in a situation where responders have left their families to serve unconditionally. The college is making an appeal to the families of the responders, who can help the responders preserve their educational investments without losing money. "All first responders who are students of SPC, we will certainly work with them," said Brownlee. "Only a handful of students who are responders or volunteer responders have been in contact with us, but we expect to hear from them when they get a moment. When we do, we will help them with their educations," said Brownlee.

For information on the deployed member communication project, contact Dr. Mordecai I. Brownlee at (210) 486-2252 or mbrownlee3@alamo.edu.

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