This week we have witnessed devastation caused by wildfires in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. We have also seen heroism displayed by the first responders working to save lives. This is especially difficult because it is happening in our home state, and some of those impacted by the disaster are a part of our UTC community. Our hearts go out to the families affected by the destructive and deadly fires.
Many people are asking how to help those in need. The East Tennessee Red Cross has set up a wildfire response web page with safety tips and other important information. The most important way you can have an impact is to donate to the Red Cross. This enables the organization to help people recover when disaster strikes. To donate, visit redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
We know that there are UTC students, faculty and staff from Sevier County, and we have a number of services available to help those who may need support during this difficult time. Students may contact the Office of the Dean of Students to connect with campus resources, coordinate absence from class and access help with finances, food or shelter. For students needing someone to talk to, the Counseling and Personal Development Center is one call away at (423) 425-4438. Counseling is also available to employees through our Employee Assistance Program at 1-855-437-3486.