WPU Student-Volunteers Travel to Wilmington to Aid in Hurricane Florence Recovery Effort

October 15, 2018

While most students start their Fall Break by relaxing or studying for mid-terms, a group of 65 WPU students took a day trip to clear debris in Wilmington, North Carolina, one of the areas most impacted by Hurricane Florence in September.

Over fall break, students from William Peace University Athletics and WPU Student Involvement partnered with Port City Proud (PCP), a volunteer organization of construction and building professionals, to help clear debris from a Wilmington neighborhood that was badly affected by Hurricane Florence. PCP members used chain saws to cut up fallen trees for WPU’s 65-strong volunteer group to haul to the street for collection, along with other debris. Together, the two groups cleared five different yards in the Wilmington neighborhood in the span of just one day.

“It felt really awesome supporting the community of Wilmington, and it felt even greater to help restore what was lost.”

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WPU Student Body President, Matthew Comienski, helps carry debris away.

When WPU students arrived, they were astounded by the amount of devastation that had befallen Wilmington. Many homes were still damaged and major roads were lined with downed trees and debris. Some neighborhood roads and back roads were still barely passable. The somber reality of Florence’s destruction didn’t deter the volunteers in their mission, who, as soon as they arrived, went straight to work.

“Coming from Ohio I had never seen anything like that,” said Matthew Comienski ’19, Student Body President at WPU. “When we arrived it looked like the Hurricane had just happened only 4 or 5 days earlier. It was honestly very eye-opening.”

WPU student-volunteers partnered with Port City Proud, a volunteer group who banned together in the wake of Hurricane Florence to help their community return to normal. PCP helps clear and remove fallen trees and debris from properties across the Wilmington area. PCP not only helps to clear yards and roads for their Wilmington neighbors, but they also accept donations, where 100% of the proceeds go to victims of Hurricane Florence who live in the area.

WPU volunteers enjoyed the opportunity to give back to the Wilmington community, an experience that has left them with lasting impressions.

“Being able to support those in need was an awesome experience,” said Christian Emmanuel Branch ’19, a student at WPU. “It felt really awesome supporting the community of Wilmington, and it felt even greater to help restore what was lost. The fact that I was able to bless others was an incredible blessing for myself, and I will always treasure that.”

For more news and feature stories, visit www.peace.edu/news.

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