Laredo community helps ease burden of VC students

Sept. 9, 2017 at 10:30 p.m.
Updated Sept. 7, 2017 at 4:04 p.m.

With much help from some new friends, Victoria College was able to provide relief assistance for more than 300 students and their families affected by Hurricane Harvey.

A day after classes resumed, students lined up at the Student Center on Wednesday to receive the items, which included bottled water, toiletries, cleaning supplies, nonperishable food items and clothing.

"We want to do everything we can to assure our students can resume their studies as seamlessly as possible in the aftermath of Harvey," David Hinds, Victoria College president, said.

A tractor-trailer carrying items donated by residents of Laredo and Webb counties arrived to Victoria College's Main Campus on Tuesday. Webb County Judge Tano E. Tijerina partnered with the Webb County Sheriff's Office to collect donations around Laredo. Four trailers were sent to the Houston area, and the fifth trailer, which had been stationed at Texas A&M International University, was sent to Victoria.

Tijerina spent most of his childhood living in Victoria, so assisting Victoria College was a "no-brainer" for him after he learned about VC's need for relief items from Webb County Communications Officer Marah Mendez.

"I said, 'Wow, what a coincidence,'" said Tijerina, who attended Crain Middle School and Stroman High School before his family moved to Laredo. "During times like this, we need to all come together as one. This is what unites us. It brings us great joy to hear that we have been able to help however we can."

"Our students and entire Texas A&M International University community quickly rallied to this cause, filling the trailer in less than two days," said Minita Ramirez, Texas A&M International vice president for student success. "We are glad that our efforts have found their purpose in Victoria, and continue to send our prayers and best wishes to Victoria and its people as all move forward to recovery."

Laredo Community College had already sent more than 12,000 bottles of waters and other nonperishable food items on Aug. 31. More than 40 volunteers from the community college delivered the items to VC's Main Campus and assisted in cleanup efforts across the campus.

Another group of Laredo Community College volunteers is scheduled to return to VC with more donated items.

"Laredo Community College is grateful to have helped bring relief to the victims of Hurricane Harvey at Victoria College," LCC President Ricardo Solis said. "Through the support of LCC students, staff and faculty members, as well as the generosity of our local community, we are providing immediate and substantial relief to those in need. We remain committed to pledging our support to Victoria College as they continue their efforts in restoring their community and resuming normal college operations."

Victoria College Trustee Luis Guerra grew up in Laredo and attended Laredo Community College. His brother, Joe Guerra, served as a city councilman in Laredo and was a close friend of LCC Trustee Henry Carranza.

"I met Dr. Carranza at a conference, and the first question out of his mouth was if I was related to Joe Guerra," Luis Guerra said. "When he learned of the devastation after Hurricane Harvey, he took it upon himself to organize LCC's relief efforts we have seen come our way."

Hinds also expressed his gratitude.

"I can't thank Laredo Community College, Texas A&M International University and the citizens of Webb County enough for their efforts to ease the burden of our students. The generosity and outpouring of compassion is very touching and something we will always remember at VC."

In addition to offering relief items to students, VC's Student Life Office has provided free hot meals to students since classes resumed Sept. 5.

"This effort is one of many VC has in place to help our students return to some sort of normalcy and complete a successful semester," Hinds said. "Any VC student facing a challenge in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey is encouraged to speak with an advisor, who will provide assistance or connect the student to resources available in the community. Many of our students have already overcome many obstacles. We want to make sure they stay on course to accomplish their academic and career goals."

Donations can be made at VC's Student Center, 2200 E. Red River St. in Victoria. The following items are in high demand:

• Cleaning products

• Paper towels

• Individual cereal boxes

• Vienna sausages

• Peanut butter

• Fruit snacks

• Canned food items

• Mosquito spray

• Snacks

• Shampoo and conditioner

• Diapers (sizes 4, 5 and 6)

• Ladies deodorant

• Towels

• Bed pillows

• Comforters/blankets

For updates, pickup times, and services available to VC students, visit VictoriaCollege.edu/Recovery.


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