Members of Kansas City Kansas Community College’s chapter of Phi Theta Kappa took their volunteering efforts south to help Moore, Okla., which was devastated by a tornado earlier this year.
Eight KCKCC students made the trip to Moore Oct. 3 to 5. This was Phi Theta Kappa’s second trip to the storm-ravaged city, also visiting in June when they helped mostly with demolition and other storm clean-up.
“I was shocked,” said Ryan Proctor, Phi Theta Kappa executive officer on first seeing Moore after the tornado. “It was amazing to see how much damage was done by a tornado, and it was really sad to see the memorials that have been created for those who died. People from all over the country have left items.”
The EF5 tornado struck Moore on May 20, 2013, killing 23 people and injuring hundreds of others. The tornado stayed on the ground for almost 40 minutes and grew to as large as 1.3 miles wide. In addition to demolishing homes and businesses, two schools were also in the tornado’s path.
Adriana Rodriguez, Phi Theta Kappa executive officer, said during the second trip to Oklahoma, the KCKCC group helped with storm clean-up and other projects requested by homeowners. This included digging out the remains of fence posts so new fences could be installed, picking up glass from yards and removing the remnants of siding from the sides of houses. She said what surprised her most was the amount of work still left to do in Moore.
“I knew everything would not be fixed, but there are still homes down there that have not been touched,” she said. “I thought there would be more rebuilding by this point, but there is still so much debris clean-up that needs to happen.”
Proctor said community service is one of the foundations of Phi Theta Kappa. The KCKCC chapter completes around 150 service projects each year, most of which are in the Kansas City, Kan. community. This summer alone, members of the organization completed more than 600 hours of community service. In addition to projects for Habitat for Humanity, Mosaic and area community organizations, Phi Theta Kappa traveled to Joplin after the 2011 tornado to offer assistance with storm clean-up.
“We all like to help,” Proctor said of the group. “I find it fulfilling to give something back. We hope to go back to Moore this spring.”
Founded in 1918, the purpose of Phi Theta Kappa is to recognize academic achievement among students who attend two-year colleges. In addition, the organization provides opportunities for students to participate in leadership and service activities, and KCKCC’s Mu Delta Chapter has been ranked by Phi Theta Kappa in the top 20 colleges internationally. Upcoming projects for the KCKCC chapter include Five Days of Giving during the Thanksgiving holiday and Christmas in the City Dec. 19.
Any student who has at least a 3.5 grade point average after 12 credit hours qualifies for Phi Theta Kappa membership. Once a member, students must maintain a 3.0 GPA. For more information on Phi Theta Kappa at KCKCC, contact Stacy Tucker, director of Honors education - Phi Theta Kappa at 913-288-7239 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Information is also available on Phi Theta Kappa’s website, www.ptk.org.
Kelly Rogge is the public information supervisor at Kansas City Kansas Community College.