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Helping those in need

This item originally appeared in the April 28, 2005 issue of The Tech Talk.

The Tech community could be marking a profound tragedy. Instead, seven Tech women are joining The Tech Talk in thanking the university and communities for their gracious generosity after a nearly tragic fire.

On the morning of April 19, seven Tech students' home was destroyed when a fire started on the back porch.

Even while firefighters were putting out the flames, people brought everything to help the women out. Neighbors brought the women coffee, shoes, blankets and even the shirts off their backs.

People opened their homes to the women, and strangers called them to see if there was anything they could do to help.

Since the fire, the Tech community has opened its arms to Emily Allison, a senior marketing major; Melanie Bourg, a senior biology major; Kelly Ford, a senior marketing major; Christen Mannon, a senior finance major; Kalya Smith, a senor graphic design major; Maribeth Ford, a junior photography major and Anna Wereskla, a senior graphic design major.

The Tech Bookstore has given the students the books they need for their classes, the Tech Express Office has given them free student IDs and the housing office is in the process of setting something up for the women who want to live on campus.

Neta Norman, the manager of the ID system, said she issued the women free IDs because a "fire is a devastating thing, and this was the least we could do."

The Wesley foundation had a donation jar at their Laid Back Lunch last Thursday, and they continue to collect donations.

The Red Cross has even given the women Wal-Mart gift cards.

Students across campus have also been doing their part in helping the women. Students have taken it upon themselves to raise money for the women. They have asked fellow classmates if they have any spare change and have made announcements at organizations about their fund raising efforts.

While the money raised is small, it is not insignificant. An extra $20 can be used to buy new school supplies or even a new pair of shoes.

If you think your $1 will not matter, it will.

While what was lost cannot be truly recovered, the women are very grateful for the generosity and kindness everyone has shown them.

These women, who miraculously escaped the fire unharmed, can best describe the feeling of gratitude in their own words.

"Thank you, everyone, for everything you have done to help all of us through this horrible tragedy. Thank you family and friends who have provided everything from support to the shirts on our backs and a bed.

Professors, classmates, fellow Rustonites, the Ruston Fire Department, the Bookstore, Tech Express Office, Housing and the Red Cross, thank you. Words cannot describe the extent of our gratitude to you.

Sincerely,

Kelly, Christen, Maribeth, Kayla, Anna, Emily, and Melanie"


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