I write today to share my gratitude to my SIUC family following the devastation in my hometown of Harrisburg after last week’s EF4 tornado.
At 4 a.m. the morning of the storm, I was notified by the campus’s emergency text broadcast of the tornado warning in Jackson County. As I have done so frequently in the past years, I watched the television broadcasts as the storm crossed toward Saline County.
While the peace and calm of my neighborhood at 5:15 a.m. was in deep contrast to that of my neighbors just a mile away, I am thankful for the outreach from Carbondale. As early as 7 a.m., SIUC co-workers were calling as I started my morning commute to campus. I marveled on state Route 13 as emergency vehicles from Jackson County responded in those first hours of the day’s unveiling.
The support, encouragement and desire to serve continued to flow from Carbondale in the days that followed: professors inquired about the safety of my friends and family, Chancellor Cheng encouraged the campus to donate and serve and SIUC sweatshirts were worn by volunteers during this past weekend’s initial cleanup in Harrisburg.
As the community begins to heal and to come to terms with the shifting in our lives, I was pleased to learn that I was seated near a Daily Egyptian photographer during Sunday night’s community prayer meeting. This SIUC student has faithfully reported the challenges — and the emerging hopefulness — Harrisburg is encountering as we begin to rebuild.
Southern Illinois University Carbondale is not just my place of employment or my graduate school. It is truly part of my family.
Thank you, SIUC!
Ph.D. candidate from Harrisburg
studying higher education