Cadet helps hurricane victims

Katherine Colucy

Jesse Grimm, ROTC member and sophomore physical education major, went to aid Katrina survivors in Louisiana for two weeks between Sept. 24 and Oct. 8.

Credit: Ben Breier

While many supporters made generous donations of food, clothing and money to recent hurricane relief efforts, sophomore health and physical education major Jesse Grimm gave two weeks of his time to help the victims of the tragedy.

Grimm, a member of the Ohio National Guard, was sent along with his unit to Lake Charles, La., Sept. 27. His unit was in charge of a point of distribution, called a POD, that gave out food, water and ice to those who sat through the storm.

Grimm said although his job kept him very busy, he got a few opportunities to talk to some of the storm victims.

“One guy cried in front of me because his house was messed up and his son was getting back from Iraq that day,” Grimm said. “He was upset because that’s where his son is from and he had to come back from Iraq to no water, no electricity and no roof. He was all flustered.”

Grimm said he also got to know a man who came to the POD often to load his truck with as much food and water possible to take to a nursing home close by.

Grimm said the most rewarding part of his trip was the reaction the victims had to the help from his unit.

“They were all so thankful,” Grimm said. “The first couple days we were there people tried to pay us for the food. It makes you feel really good because you are helping people and everyone is really motivated.”

Grimm said the trip also helped him put a lot of things in his life into perspective.

“We took a trip about an hour south to see a town that was just gone,” Grimm said. “All that was left was concrete slabs.”

While Grimm said he enjoyed the opportunity to help others, not everything about his trip was pleasant.

“They had us sleeping in an airport hanger with half the roof tore off,” Grimm said. “The insulation was ripped off, so you would be sleeping and itching all over because little pieces of fiberglass from the insulation would be cutting your skin. You really couldn’t get away from it.”

Grimm said he was also concerned about the amount of school he would miss because his orders said he could be deployed up to one month.

Grimm said that after two weeks, people started to get electricity and water back in their homes, so he got to return home along with some of the other college students in his unit. A week later, the POD was closed down because it was no longer needed, and the rest of his unit came home.

Since his return on Oct. 7, Grimm, who is also a cadet in the Army ROTC, said he has been keeping busy with all the school work he’s missed.

“If I was gone for another week, I wouldn’t have been able to stay in school this semester,” Grimm said. “It would have been too difficult. I had to drop one class because it was four credit hours, and I would have been overwhelmed. There’s still some stuff I need to work on, but I’m pretty much caught up.”

Maj. Joe Paydock, an instructor for the Army ROTC, currently has Grimm in class and said he is glad Grimm returned early from Louisiana.

“We wanted him back because he’s academically a top-notch cadet,” Paydock said. “Grimm is a great student and a great asset to our class and our program and that makes him a great asset to the Army.”

Contact ROTC reporter Katherine Colucy at [email protected].