ATU Student Among Those Helping in Texas

Most people’s first instinct during times of disaster is to run in the other direction.

For Grant McMurry, a sophomore emergency management student at Arkansas Tech University, the instinct is the exact opposite.

That’s why on Wednesday afternoon he was part of a caravan of Arkansans driving to College Station, Texas, to receive further instructions on how they could assist in Hurricane Harvey rescue and recovery efforts.

“My hometown is Clinton, and we’ve had our share of natural disasters,” said McMurry. “Our neighbors, both from inside and outside the state, are always the first ones there to help.”

McMurry is a member of the Van Buren County Rescue Squad. Trained in water rescue, McMurry’s squad connected with similar groups from around Arkansas in Texarkana and began the trek to the path of the historic hurricane. He said the super task force of Arkansas rescue groups was taking 30 boats to the scene.

“A lot of the classes I have taken at Arkansas Tech, especially the emergency management ones, have been really helpful in preparing me to assist at times like these,” said McMurry, who already owns a paramedic/emergency medical services academic credential from ATU and is now stacking a Bachelor of Science degree in emergency management on top of it. “We learn about mitigation, response and recovery and the composition of natural disasters so we can understand typical outcomes. The emergency management program encourages students to reach out at times like this, and the faculty have been very helpful in ensuring I can make up my course work.”

Back on campus, multiple student organizations and departments at ATU have combined their resources for a philanthropic effort entitled “Tech Unite: Helping Hurricane Harvey Victims.”

Donations will be accepted and forwarded to the Texas Diaper Bank, a non-profit organization that provides children and the elderly with personal care items in times of need.

The project is being organized by the ATU International and Multicultural Student Services Office (IMSSO) and co-sponsored by the following campus entities: College of Arts and Humanities, Because We Can, Department of Diversity and Inclusion, Red Cross Student Association and Student Government Association.

Cash and check donations will be accepted in the Dr. Robert Charles Brown and Jill Lestage Brown Hall lobby and at Hindsman Tower from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 6, Thursday, Sept. 7 and Friday, Sept. 8.

Cash only donations will be accepted at the Walmart SuperCenter at 2409 E. Main St. in Russellville and Kroger at 1009 W. Main St. in Russellville from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 9, and Sunday, Sept. 10.

Those wishing to make a contribution can also do so at the IMSSO in Tomlinson Hall room 29 from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. daily through Friday, Sept. 8.

For more information about Tech Unite, call (479) 964-0832.

In addition, the ATU Department of Emergency Management is receiving reports of additional students and alumni from the program who have reported to the Houston area to assist.

Learn more about the ATU Department of Emergency Management.

Photographed: Members of the Van Buren County Rescue Squad preparing for their trip to assist in Hurricane Harvey rescue and recovery efforts. 

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