Emory Doppelheuer got a pass from his instructors in the College of Business last week for some community service work. But it wasn’t related to any community service project tied to the business school.
The pre-business sophomore was busy all week long, chainsaw in hand and friends at his side, helping Seneca residents get back inside what remained of their homes after an EF3 tornado devastated parts of the city.
Emory, of Greenville, said the NewSpring church he attends in Clemson mobilized a group of volunteers to help residents clean up debris in the Quincy Road and Ploma Drive areas of Seneca.
“We were out of classes Monday because of the storm’s aftermath, so I volunteered. When I saw how devastated the area was, I emailed my professors and asked for extensions on my assignments,” Emory said.
He said in many cases, residents were not able to get into their homes because of fallen trees and scattered debris, so the volunteers spent most of the week removing the trees with their chainsaws from dawn to dusk.
Emory said the week was a life-changing experience of community service to a group of people who needed help, and he had the means and desire to contribute, so he did.
“Helping in a time of need like this is what community is all about. There are times where we need neighbors and acquaintances to lean on each other,” Emory said. “The experience opened my eyes to a lot of things. The first house I came upon was destroyed. It was moved eight feet off its foundation. It was an emotional sight for me. After speaking with the homeowner, I was struggling to find hope for these people who had lost everything.”
As a pre-business student, Emory is enrolled in senior lecturer Bill Tumblin’s Business 1010 class, a required course for any aspiring business major. Community service is a staple of the introductory business class’s curriculum. In fact, it requires a four-hour commitment to community service from each student. Though, Emory’s community service assignment had been fulfilled before the tornado hit in Seneca.
“I could tell Emory was passionate about helping those impacted by the storms’ devastation when he asked for an extension,” Tumblin said. “One of the objectives of BUS 1010 is to help students understand why community service is important for businesses and business people. Emory’s and other business students’ efforts to help during the storm clearly indicates that understanding.”
Emory said working with 30 to 40 people who he had no other connection with other than wanting to help the homeowner was a fulfilling experience.
“Doing church mission work is one thing. But pulling up to a catastrophe and witnessing the kind of devastation that existed was overwhelming,” he said “I may never be back to those neighborhoods again, but the people who reside there are going to have to live with what happened to them the rest of their lives. I’m happy I could help in some way, to help them move on from this tragedy.”
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