Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Germanna employees share stories of heroism during quake, Part 2

Germanna Community College employees were asked to tell stories of heroism they witnessed during and after the Aug. 23 earthquake.

Here is Part 2:

Cathy Ryschon - she moved about the parking lot hurriedly to keep everyone informed and safe. She encouraged everyone to provide a ride for others who may not have had one and encouraged those who had cell phones to share with others.
Ryschon also evacuated FAC1 in an orderly and timely manner on that day.


Security staff for conducting escorts in a orderly and efficient manner.


The day of the earthquake, I was training with Lynn Lineberger and Terri Givler. When FAC1 began to shake, both ladies calmly took charge of the situation and instructed those in their area to immediately evacuate. Lynn and Terri's calm demeanor helped others to evacuate in an orderly fashion.


The entire Maintenance crew did a great job getting everyone out of the building and then very carefully letting folks back in a few at a time to get their belongings. Security was also a big help.

Aubrey Collier. Minutes after the earthquake Aubrey was notified by Michelle Norton that she had let 3 hot plates on in the lab and that each hot plate had a different chemical in it and if they were to mix the chemicals could become volitale. Aubrey immediately went back into the FAC 1 building and found the hot plates with the items boiling and got them turned off.

Chris Cooper. Stayed on the job until 2am Wednesday morning evaluating the damage of GCC facilities.

James Haynes. Assisted in the removing a handicap student from the facility.

Forrest Donald. Went to DTC and LGC to do early evaluations of damage to the facilities.

Tom Stanley. Immediately started correcting damage areas of the LGC building so classes could go back into session ASAP.


Security staff for conducting escorts in a orderly and efficient mannner.


Patricia Parker-thorough information was given to all developmental math teachers and even personal phone calls were given to help relieve the stress...she went above and beyond in my opinion.


Sara Somerville was firm and progressive -- got everyone in our area outside promptly!


Mark Haines was key in helping to evacuate students from FAC 1. Mark along with James Haynes aided a wheel chair student safely off of the 3rd floor and out of the bldg.

Cathy Ryschon from security was very level headed and helpful with all that was needed during and post the earthquake. Cathy is always concerned about the needs of the students and the college. She always approaches any situation with a positive manner. She is a pleasure to have as a co-worker.
Bill Fiege going all over the parking lot making sure people were okay.

The people (Mark Haines and James Haynes) who carried the lady in the wheelchair down.


Carol Baetz trying to answer everyone's questions and keep things organized (as usual!)


The ACC staff at LGC had the wisdom to order the students out of room 204 and into room 203 and under desks to remove them from the danger of the HVAC falling in room 204. All students complied and came into 203, proceeded to get under desk and remain relatively calm until we were told to evacuate at which point the staff directed the students to the closest exit.
Upgrading Security paid off with their drills and in service slash cross training with faculty to safely evacuate fac1 like any other unexpected emergency ...


Mark Haines, Coordinator of Counseling at FAC

James Haynes, Buildings and Grounds Staff

Both of these individuals went back into the building to assist the student who is constrained in a wheelchair.


Kathy Ryschon- Security Guard who went back into the building to assist in evacuation.


Ann Alizio in Admissions and Records who made sure counseling center was being evacuated.


Carol Baetz from Instruction who made sure everyone stayed away from the building.
I'm Ron Williams the Project Inspector of the New Academic Service Building for GCC. I was on the 3rd floor as the building started to move I yelled to all workers on that floor to leave and went to the roof to make all those workers leave the building. Todd Cooksey, Donley's Superintendent was on the 1st floor and he had all workers to leave and went to the second floor and had them leave. We all meet at the construction trailer and took a head count and all workers were down and safe. The job was closed at that point.


Debbie Bunch. Debbie owns and runs the food service at LGC. She calmly shepherded students and personnel in her area out to safety. As she isn't a GCC employee, I thought her actions rather selfless and exemplary.
Security at DTC campus. When I phoned to clarify the first email indicating classes were cancelled the evening of the earthquake, the security person answered the phone and provided me the information I needed.


All safety monitors that helped move students out of the building to a safe location.


Garland Fenwick and Aubrey in their courageous initiatives.


Mark Haines rushing to the help of a full quadriplegic Courtney Dole.

Wow- where to start? I do not know his name- but the man directing traffic away from the campus around 3 pm was helpful and polite. Those getting the word out did a great job. I do not know names of people in FACI at the time, but numerous students have commented how calm, professional and helpful people were.
All of security - They made sure that the buildings were emptied and they prevented re-entry of the building until they knew that it was safe to do so.


Tina Parker - She worked with a security guard on directing traffic leaving the parking lot when she didn't have to do so.


James Cassese - He went to 7-Eleven and got water for employees and students an hour or so after the earthquake occurred. Many people needed water at this point in time.
Stuart Smith: He stood for at least 90 minutes at the curb of FAC1 helping to keep folks from moving any closer to the building, explaining to them why they needed to move back to the light pole in the parking lot.


Deb Brock and Bill Fiege: Patiently, calmly, and kindly moving throughout the parking lot to groups of people trying to determine who was without a ride home, organizing how those folks might be able to get home. Never would leave the grounds until everyone was taken care of.


Nancy Noel: moved around the parking lot getting students to move back to the first light pole explaining why they needed to be that far back, calming them down and assuring them that if we were closed tomorrow that they would be contacted via email, notified on the home page, and probably on tv.


Cathy Ryschon: WOW!!!!! She kept her cool when people were getting upset that they couldn't get back in the building to retrieve personal effects and car keys. She worked the students, the traffic out of the campus parking lot, and all the while kept people calm, explaining why things were being done the way they were! She gets GOLD STARS!!!!
I was not on campus during the earthquake. However, I felt that Dean Fiege did an excellent job of communicating via e-mail, and more importantly to me, was terrific about responding to questions and other issues.
Sarah Somerville taking charge of getting students out of the building.


Pam Frederick helping retrieve car keys for the student who had a dog locked in her car.
Rick Brehm and Garland Fenwick (Both took charge of the situation at the LGC, surveyed the damage and gave instructions.)


Security staff at LGC (Were courteous and helpful.)
Right after the earthquake, James (on the maintenance staff) was walking the hallways of FAC 1 on the second floor checking on each of the classrooms and helping students get out of the building. It was very chaotic and he was taking charge of the situation to make sure that people got out of the building safely. He also helped one of the students in a wheelchair.
Just about everyone!
Thank you to the Security Staff who got everyone safely out of the buildings!
PT faculty member Nilo Burke held door for students next to a visibly damaged wall and staircase, and offered rides home to 2 faculty/staff whose keys were left inside the building.


Carol Baetz and James Haynes did an outstanding job firmly, but kindly, getting and keeping everyone out of and away from the building.
Tom Stanley. He was the first -- from our view on the ground -- to actually walk across the top of the Locust Grove building to inspect. That job could have been extremely dangerous!


Debbie Bunch, operator of the food services facility at the Locust Grove Campus showed exemplary service to Germanna at the onset, through the duration of, and in the aftermath of the earthquake. Debbie knew what was happening and she immediately came out of the kitchen ushering all the students out of the building and into the parking lot - ensuring they were not in an erosion zone and thus in further danger in being outside.
She was sure to make the students and faculty move to the parking lot, away from the building and the grounds, recognizing the risks involved with shifting earth. I witnessed others moving students to areas substantially less safe and remaining outside next to the building, but Debbie took her endeavor much further and employed an authoritative tone that generated the necessary response from those confused and uncertain regarding what to do.
When the quake ended she re-entered the building to look for students in interior classrooms near the student lounge for the purpose of gathering them to go into the parking lot and await further instructions from the school. At no time did she hesitate and her concern was clearly for welfare of the students above herself.
Though not technically a Germanna employee, her actions were indicative of those that we would hope all faculty and staff would have when the safety of our students are concerned. I feel compelled to make this point not only because Debbie's actions were certainly exemplary, but because she knew what had occurred, she knew the inherent risks, and despite this went back into the building look for students and make sure everyone was safe.
While I was with Debbie while she did this (I was concerned for her safety as well as that of the students, but it was her initiative that I followed, admittedly), I witnessed other faculty members stood by doors yelling for students, faculty, and staff to leave the building. Certainly this is not a fault on the part of those faculty and staff members who did not actively go to look for students trapped inside or hiding inside due to fear - this is simply what happened and how events played out on that terrible afternoon.
Debbie showed phenomenal emotional strength and personal character in her concern for the students first and foremost. Debbie Bunch was truly fearless in the face of danger and while I did insist on accompanying her back into the building, it was she who immediately responded and acted solely with concern for the welfare of Germanna's students, faculty and staff. Her actions were truly those of a hero, and fortunately no one was injured at LGC, but I have no doubt that if Debbie had found an injured or panic stricken individual she would have gotten them to safety - for I did not see anyone else go about physically looking for students in need aside from Debbie that day.

I was not present the day of the earthquake; however, I did hear how faculty and staff blocked off the building and strongly insisted no one could re-enter. I felt they were being very protective of students and colleagues and showing a great deal of compassion for their safety.


Thank you to everyone!!
Lisa Smith: Her calm efficiency as she handled the crisis.
Bill Fiege - He was calm and collected throughout the evacuation, guided students, make some very good managerial decisions and generally ran around the parking lot twenty times to check one everyone - students, staff and faculty.

Chris Anderson- Handled situation beautifully at FAC. In charge, clear, confident!

Mark Haines- Assisting with student in wheel chair.

Matt Chambers- Getting water for folks at FAC late in the day.

Miguel Lechuga- Assisting with traffic.

Carol Baetz- Assisting with traffic.

Many Faculty and Staff- Helping keep students calm and informed
Dean Gilkey filtered among the faculty, staff and students to ensure that phone access was available so that contact with loved ones was attempted.

Phones were shared with others who did not have coverage with their service, there is no one person who did this as several, including myself gave their phones to others in need.


Dr. Sam; he was in a press conference with Senator Warner at the Library of Congress and he left immediately to the Daniel Center to determine the extent of the damage and what our response should be. In short, he took charge.

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