Students from UTC and Chattanooga State came together to “Embrace Haiti” by loading a truck with supplies to help earthquake victims.

“After the earthquake struck Haiti, students wanted to help in any way they could,” said UTC SGA President Tyler Forrest.

The effort culminated with a sendoff celebration at Chattanooga State. Student drivers from the school’s trucking program will drive the truck to an Indiana warehouse. There, UTC’s Dr. June Hanks, UC Foundation associate professor, stores supplies for the Advantage Program, which helps people with physical disabilities in Haiti.

“Every item that was donated is appreciated by the people of Haiti,” said Hanks.

“This was a great opportunity to partner with Chatt State, it displayed how two schools could come together for a worthy cause,” said Forrest.

For the past few weeks, students worked together to collect and fill the truck with toiletries, medicine, blankets, canes, crutches, and wheelchairs. Goodwill Industries’ Help Equipment Link Program, which provides free medical equipment for anyone in need, also donated dozens of wheelchairs, walkers, and canes. Students staffed the truck during weekends at Walmart collection sites and Benton Oil provided free gas for the trip to Indiana.

Dr. Cathie Smith, UTC associate professor of physical therapy, recently visited Haiti and said these efforts will help the country begin to recover from the devastation, even though rebuilding will take years.

“The people of Haiti display such resilience and strength, thank you for making this comeback possible,” said Smith.

Previous posts on Haiti:

UTC faculty members help heal Haiti earthquake survivors (March 11, 2010)

UTC and Chattanooga State students collaborate to Embrace Haiti (March 11, 2010)

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