Students representing Butler County Community College clubs have donated to the American Red Cross $3,600, which a local board member says represents “a significant amount of money” to be used to help victims of recent hurricanes.
BC3 nursing club members Mikayla Spreng, of Saxonburg, and Josh Cranmer, of Butler; and BC3 physical therapy assistant club members Jessica Palascak, of Cranberry Township, and Rachel Fisher, of Wolcott, N.Y., gave checks totaling $3,600 to Blessel on Oct. 9.
“I am really impressed that the local community college folks have been able to come together to give us this,” said Blessel, a Butler resident and board member of the Westcentral Pennsylvania chapter of the American Red Cross.
“The students around here seem to be really active on things, engaged, and they have a lot of interest in helping.”
Hurricane victims, Blessel said, “are starting from scratch. There is a long way to go for all of those folks. Financial aid like this is really going to be helpful for them.”
BC3’s nursing and physical therapy assistant clubs donated money collected from fundraisers held throughout the year.
“The clubs reached out to me to see what they could do for the hurricane victims,” said Sherri Osborne, BC3’s assistant director of student activities.
Additionally, representatives of BC3’s Student Life and others operated a donation canopy on BC3’s main campus for three hours a day Sept. 12-15 and received contributions from faculty, staff and other students – including some through interoffice mail from BC3’s off-campus sites, Osborne said.
BC3’s contributions will be given to the national chapter of the American Red Cross, which will help those in need, Blessel said.
Cranmer, a freshman, said the images he saw on television of the hurricanes’ aftermath were “very upsetting. Especially being a nursing major, all you want to do is help people. That is why you get into this profession. You want to help people. With them being so far away, it is so hard, because you just want to help them. So fundraising, and helping them to pay for the things that they need, I can feel like I am actually contributing something to them.”
That attitude, which he said he found among BC3 students, faculty and staff, resonates with Blessel.
“The fact that they have been able to get together and raise this money just speaks to the character of the people at BC3,” he said.
Palascak, a BC3 sophomore and mother of two boys, said she has thought about whether it had been her family suffering in a hurricane-devastated area.
“If we were homeless and our neighborhood completely gone, what would we do?” Palascak said. “I can’t even imagine how those families are trying to survive at this point in time. So knowing that we were able to make a difference for however many people our money can reach is amazing. I can’t think of a better way to spend the money.”