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Helping war victims survive bombings

When National Guardsman Randy Maas was deployed to Baghdad, he emailed the general manager at a radio station back home in Iowa and asked if she could help him find clothing and medical supplies for the war victims whose homes had been bombed. She put in a call to the Iowa Juvenile Home in Toledo, and “Boxes for Baghdad” was born.

According to SkillsUSA advisor Diane Klenk-Chargo, the students needed convincing. To them, folks in Baghdad were the enemy. When they saw the photos Maas had emailed, picturing children wandering the hot streets with tattered clothes and no shoes, they were ready to help. Before all was said and done, five tons of clothing and medical supplies had been collected, sorted, boxed and shipped to Iraq.

In the path of Charley's wrath

The building construction, carpentry, electricity, plumbing and cosmetology students at Manatee Technical Institute in Bradenton, Fla., wasted no time helping victims of Hurricane Charley. Carpentry students repaired roofs and patched walls (see pictures below). The culinary arts students provided meals to residents of several badly damaged mobile home parks. And, cosmetology students shampooed residents’ hair. At another location in Arcadia, volunteers provided nearly five truckloads of food and water to many still without electricity and plumbing.

According to Michelle Meluch, SkillsUSA coordinator, “Many of the residents of Oakview (a mobile home park) have no where to live but their destroyed mobile homes. Many of these residents, most in their 70's-80's, are physically and mentally drained. The cosmetology students went door-to-door to distribute a hot meal, water and ice to these individuals. They also assisted cleaning out refrigerators and filling toilets with water so they can be flushed. In some cases, the students just sat and talked with the residents.”

For information on how you can help the American Red Cross in its disaster relief efforts for these hurricane victims visit:

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SkillsUSA Champions | Fall 2004 | Volume 39, No. 1
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