In Response to a Webbie’s Call for Help
In response to a sister Webbie’s call for help, six Webb students (Matthew Graham ’14, David Comiske ’15, Clarence O’Connor ’15, Cody Owen ’15, Alexandra Russo ’15, and Andrew Thompson ’15) together with Professor Hennings rallied to aid her and her community. On September 22, 2011, Webb received a phone call from a Webb alumna, Alexandra Russ Meyerson ’00, detailing the destructive flooding that occurred in early September in the small town of Owego, New York, due to Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee. The damage to this small town in upstate New York was very widespread and, in some places, catastrophic. Electrical power was lost for days, and when the flood waters finally receded, the streets were left covered with mud, waste, and rubble. Ms. Meyerson and her seven-year-old daughter were forced to evacuate to another town. She was doing her best to help with the cleanup but was simply overwhelmed.
The Webbies arrived in Owego after a more than six-hour van trip late in the evening of Friday, October 14. They spent the next two nights sleeping on cots in the First Presbyterian Church. They cleaned the town’s Main Street that morning with rakes and shovels. Then, they used more than 150 large trash bags to contain some of the debris found on the town’s sidewalks and roads. In the afternoon, they separated into two groups and helped in the renovation of two private homes that had been particularly ravaged by the flood. These renovations primarily consisted of the wielding of crow bars and hammers in an effort to remove the flooring in both houses. They acted without hesitation to help not only another Webbie and her family but also a small community that they had never heard of, except that it was a community that needed their help.