Marshall fraternities, sororities begin break with hurricane recovery
HUNTINGTON — Thanksgiving marks a time of recognizing blessings in your own life and giving back to those who aren’t as fortunate as you.
Members of Marshall University’s fraternity and sorority life spent the beginning of their Thanksgiving break doing just that by traveling to North Carolina to assist in hurricane recovery efforts.
A group of 26 students, plus a couple members of the Campus Activities Board, visited Wilmington, North Carolina, on Nov. 15 for a three-day service trip. They worked to demo a home destroyed by Hurricane Florence floodwaters through Baptist Disaster Relief, along with assisting the local Salvation Army and Meals on Wheels.
James Prentice, Alpha Sigma Phi member and the current Mr. Marshall, said it was humbling to see the extent of the damage.
“You don’t realize it until you drive by mounds and mounds of people’s property,” he said.
Prentice spent most of his time working on the house, tearing down moldy walls and wet insulation. He said it was amazing how much water was still under the house.
“You don’t realize how extensive it is,” Prentice said. “You see a lot on the news, but you just see a roof blown off and stuff, but you don’t see how much water gets into these buildings.”
They had to let the water out from under the house, which would take 15 minutes at a time to drain, he said.
They worked alongside the homeowner, a social services worker and her two foster sons, who are the same age as the Marshall students. Prentice said it was more than rehabbing a house - it was helping the family recover.
“They had a lot of aggression over what happened, and they could take it out on the house,” he said. “You could also see how happy they were to work with people their age. It was great for them to work with us and let some aggression out while hoping to build a better house.”
He also got to witness the heartwarming relationship between the foster siblings. One will be donating his kidney to the other later this year.
“It’s amazing how they come together, and it’s not just an individual issue - it’s a community issue,” Prentice said. “And that community can be from miles away in Huntington, West Virginia. It was amazing to see.”
Follow reporter Taylor Stuck on Twitter and Facebook @TaylorStuckHD.