A little hard work goes a long way.
And since Morris Community High School students did a lot of hard work volunteering their time during the April flood, Elliott Manor senior citizen apartments wanted to thank them accordingly.
The 105-apartment facility made a $2,000 donation to Morris Community High School District 101, which was accepted by the school board Monday night.
“When the high school kids were over, they just calmed everyone down so much,” Laura Woodford, property manager, said Thursday. “They were happy and cheerful. They were just happy to be doing the work. There was no complaining. They were just great.”
In a letter to the Board of Education, Principal Kelly Hussey said the school was asked to use the money “according to the needs for the hard work of your student volunteers during the flood on April 18.” The plan is to use the money toward the purchase of equipment and supplies the school could not budget for.
The school wants to make sure the donation is utilized in a way that will impact the most students, Hussey said. So the administration, department heads and athletic department will work together to find out what is the best way to spend it.
A line item will be created in the Student Activity Fund budget for donations and will be approved by the board in July.
Athletes, band members and all kinds of students stepped up that day. Once students became aware of the need for help at the apartment building and hospital, they began texting each other, spreading the word, then senior Craig Claire said.
Between both locations, Claire said about 100 students came out to help that day and for clean-up efforts after the flood.
“(Elliott Manor’s donation) is great news. That is really awesome to hear,” Claire said.
“It was so fun, to be honest,” he said. “We made the most fun we could out of it. The community really came together.”
Woodford said students came down to stuff and lay sandbags around the building that day. And they returned when the water receded to remove the sandbags as well.
The apartment building was surrounded by water due to the flooding of Nettle Creek. Waverly Street, where the apartment building is located, was flooded with water so high it submerged vehicles. Morris Hospital’s parking lot located across the street was also flooded. Students were there as well helping to sandbag, but in the end the hospital had to be evacuated.
“They did it all to protect the building, and they did. We got no water in the (apartment) building,” Woodford said. “It got right up to the edge, but we had no problems. Knock on wood.”
Some vehicles were lost due to flooding in their parking lot, she said, but it could have been worse. The Morris Public Works Department came and cut the lot fence so many residents could move their cars.
Resident Sharon Evans’ grandson Anthonee Monson was one of the Morris football players that came to the rescue.
“I immediately ran out and hugged my grandson,” she said.
All of the students worked extremely hard, Evans said. Although the water was about a foot from the first-floor residents’ patio doors, it never got any closer because of them.
“All those young fellows’ shoes are ruined and they just made joy of it. They were just glad to be helping people,” she continued.