Perry DMACC students help residents clean up storm debris

Andrew Brown - Reporter

Just days after the storm that passed through Perry on Monday, Aug. 10 and left broken trees and debris all over town, several DMACC staff, students and community members came together. 

They came together during the DMACC Day of Service on Friday and helped clear trees and debris from several residential homes as well as the Perry Dog Park. It was a group that was quickly formed from the minds of DMACC Academic Advisor Connie Saenz and DMACC VanKirk Career Academy Director Eddie Diaz. 

"Initially we're working with an internship program and part of the internship is being able to serve their community," Saenz said. "As they are receiving all the benefits from the internship then they also get the opportunity to give back. We saw that opportunity with the storm that went through." 

She added that they also saw an opportunity to involve more of the community beyond the DMACC Perry center.

More:'Worst storm I've seen': Perry works to clean up extensive damage

DMACC students Julia Reyes, Alexa Zarate, Lily Naranjo help clean up debris from residential homes and parks throughout Perry following the storms Monday, Aug. 10

"It's a really good cross-section of what the community of Perry stands for," Saenz said of the group gathered for the service day. "They get a lot from their community whether it helps with education, grants, or other things. So to be able to turn that around and give back, show their gratitude for that is great. Perry is really good about pulling together when things get tough and that's a really good representation of the students." 

DMACC Perry students help clear debris from the dog park Friday, Aug. 14 following the storms that passed through Perry.

The group split up to help with debris cleanup in the community. Even with the efforts separated in groups, Saenz said the idea for the event came together quickly.

"We talked about it Monday and by Tuesday we were already planning it," said Saenz. "The only reason it got pushed back was to fit as many people together as possible." 

Diaz added to the efforts by talking about giving back to those in the community that needed help the most. 

"We've tried to reach out to those who have been hit the hardest and haven't had the chance to clean the debris yet," said Diaz. 

Eric Vaughn carries debris from fallen trees, helping the DMACC Perry students in the DMACC Day of Service Friday, Aug. 14.

With the need for more pickup and general help around the community, Saenz mentioned that the DMACC Day of Service could potentially turn into a bigger event next week where the focus would be on Pattee Park.