A helping hand for a storm damaged Concord college - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

A helping hand for a storm damaged Concord college

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CONCORD, NC (WBTV) -

Winds from severe storms on Monday afternoon reached near hurricane strength in the Concord area, pulling down trees and knocking out power to thousands, including Barber Scotia College in downtown Concord.

On Wednesday the school received much needed help from an unexpected source.  About twenty students from Warren Wilson College near Asheville.

"I've been clearing brush and taking logs," rising junior Corrine Hertz from Winston-Salem told WBTV. "It's a good work out, good sweat."

It was a day of hard work for students and staff from Warren Wilson, and a long one, too. They made a two and half hour drive Wednesday morning to Concord to help a school in need.

"We had the winds come through the other day and topple one really large tree that was here before the institution was here, and knocked tops out of other trees," Barber Scotia President David Olah told WBTV.

The big tree smashed a gate and blocked the road next to the school. 

Warren Wilson College is known for its Environmental Studies program, or, as junior Corrine Hertz put it: "If it's trees, we got it."

On Wednesday Warren Wilson arborist Caleb Mende climbed the downed tree as nimbly as a squirrel.  He brought down the big branches that stretched high above the ground while other students cleared brush and cut off limbs.

"We'll get this tree chopped up and ready for firewood," said Tom LaMurhulia, Landscape Services Director for Warren Wilson.  "This is a combination of helping out a school, small like ours, and putting in some community service...we're glad to come down."

And this isn't just about cleaning up the physical appearance of the campus. Barber-Scotia has had it rough since losing accreditation a few years ago, they're trying to get it back so that it will once again be a thriving college campus.

The president says building relationships, even over chainsaws, is part of the process.

"It means a lot to have another institution support you," Olah added.

Students learn from the hands on experience of the day and they get credit hours, but it may be more about answering a need.

"Good feeling of chipping in and helping somebody in need," said LaMurhulia.

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