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Students head to Gulf Coast to help with hurricane cleanup

By Chris Dunker

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    LINCOLN, Nebraska (Lincoln Journal Star) — Union College students will spend a week helping cleanup efforts in Louisiana after Hurricane Ida struck the Gulf Coast in late August.

Twenty students in Union College’s International Rescue and Relief program, as well as a handful of faculty, left Lincoln on Monday and will spend a week clearing debris in the town of Grand Isle, which took a direct hit from the storm.

Grand Isle’s police chief estimated 100% of buildings in the town of 1,400 were either heavily damaged or destroyed when Ida made landfall as a Category 4.

Union was asked to send students who have training in rescue and relief efforts by Gideon Rescue, a disaster response agency run by Union alumni.

The International Rescue and Relief program prepares Union students for careers in public safety, emergency management and community development.

Students graduate as emergency medical technicians and with several FEMA certifications.

The program was last activated in 2020 to respond to the derecho storm in eastern Iowa and for the 2019 flooding in Nebraska.

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