Men's Soccer - Sat, Mar. 10, 2012
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BARBOURVILLE, Ky. -- Members of the Union College men's soccer team made the trip up to ravaged East Bernstandt, Ky. on Wednesday to help out in the continuing clean up efforts being made in the town in the aftermath of a tornado that struck there last Friday.

In all, 17 people across the Commonwealth were killed in the storms, which moved across Indiana and Kentucky at a violent pace last Friday afternoon and evening. 

"I am so proud of men's team and the few individuals that went with us, words cannot describe it," said Union men's soccer coach Tyler Brock. "It was a true selfless act and when I brought to the guys, you could tell they really wanted to help. It's not every day you see something like that. All the devastation and sadness. 

"It is real eye opener, and really reminds you how lucky you have it."

The team made its way up from Barbourville on 2 p.m. on Wednesday, and stayed through sundown, assisting four different families in various clean-up tasks. The team did things such as stack up wood from cut down trees, clear debris from backyards, and assist a man trying to knock down a shed by removing a displaced steel roof from his yard.

The team was not the only individuals from the UC community who made the trip up to East Bernstandt, as the group was joined by student Austin Sebald from the Common Partners, UC alumni Tim Saunders, and newcomer Donovan McClure, a London, Ky. native. 

The campus and local community also helped jump start the trip from it's inception. 

First, Union Dean of Students Debbie D'Anna was responsible for sponsoring the trip, and provided meals for the team and volunteers. Don Merriman of Campus Food Services donated snacks and water bottles for workers, while James Jimerson of the UC Physical Plant loaned out tools. Meanwhile, local businesses such as Knox Hardware and Pope's Lumber donated gloves, a water cooler, and cleaning brushes, all to help volunteers out.

Also, several Union College faculty, staff, and students donated items such as food, clothing and other items that they we were able to drop off on campus before the team left. Lastly,  the Common Partners Office donated a large monetary amount that enabled the team to purchase items that were needed in the relief efforts.

But, for all the team did in a short amount of time, more needs to be done in East Bernstandt to get the community back on it's feet after the devastating storm. 

"It is not even close to getting back to a sense of normalcy," continued Brock. "They need more baby items like diapers, clothes, and bibs. More importantly they just need volunteer man power. 

"I mean, we were out there for a good 5-6 hours with 20 guys and there is so much devastation, it was as if all we did was take a cup of sand off the beach after you told us to take all the sand away."  

If you want to volunteer in clean-up efforts in East Bernstandt, contact Albert Hale, who is the volunteer coordinator for the town. He can be reached at 606-682-4352 or 606-877-2881.