A team of CWE parent and student counselors dropped what they were doing June 11 to go to Tuscaloosa and pair with the University of Alabama’s orientation staff to help with tornado cleanup. They were not required to go, but were asked if they would volunteer, and many answered the call.
“It was awesome because it was completely volunteer,” said Tyler Till, a head camp counselor. “We had just finished session, and the last thing you wanted to do was get up at 8 a.m. the next morning, but it was cool because we had a team of over 30 go.”
When the team arrived in Tuscaloosa, they were divided into two smaller groups to provide service to the Help Tuscaloosa Coalition to get more tasks completed.
One group did manual labor on a few house lots that were destroyed and left with only debris. They spent the day removing as much debris as they could and scavenging to find lost items that families wanted to keep.
“We just swept everything, which is crazy because when you think of doing something, you think of something big,” Till said. “We wanted to move big piles and see such a clean area. It was such a small task, but the thing is that had to be done before they could rebuild on it.”
The second group went around Tuscaloosa to assess damage and report it back to the organization so more relief work could take place in the future. Although this task did not demand a lot of back-breaking work, it was necessary and needed to be completed.
“We literally drove around in a car and marked down on a sheet of paper how much damage the house has,” said Mitchell Holston, camp counselor. “My crew of people never broke a sweat while the others were covered in dirt and sweating like pigs.”
Many of the counselors had seen images on television of the destruction, but they were not quite sure what they were about to come to terms with.
Jamil Price, graduate assistant for CWE, said they didn’t know what they were going to see until they actually arrived there.
Multiple counselors expressed the enjoyment they received from the day and being able to help people in desperate need. They also thought it was interesting that they could come together with UA’s staff and work together and put all differences aside.
“It was fun to meet some of the University of Alabama staff,” Price said. “And putting aside Auburn and Alabama and working together to make a difference to impact that city.”
Both universities are state universities and are a part of a larger community that looks after each other, and these two staffs exemplified that even more.
Their jobs are to orient students to the University and help serve them in any way possible. At the same time, they translated that over into the community and served there with incredible passion.
“Camp War Eagle is all about service, so it’s natural to want to help people in more capacities than serving freshmen,” Holston said.