A Message From Our President
November 5, 2012
From Sandy Shores to Sandy’s Shores
SCCO is taking time to reflect on Hurricane Sandy that swept through the East Coast leaving behind an unthinkable path of debris and destruction. As our campus has been shaken by a few earthquakes this year, we cannot sit by and be unaffected by the power of natural disasters and the response to restore a hopeful future.
While there may be no single guiding principle to lead the way during such events, we want our students and faculty to engage in a thoughtful dialog that increases the awareness of the need for all health care practitioners to be prepared for a world that is needing more disaster relief than ever.
The American Red Cross (ARC) has come to the aid of Sandy just as it has for other American hardships for over a century. The Red Cross was established in Washington, D.C., on May 21, 1881. Its first major relief efforts included a response to the Great Fire of 1881 (Thumb Fire) in the Thumb region of Michigan, which occurred on September 4–6, 1881. Over 5,000 people were left homeless. The next major disaster was the Johnstown Flood that occurred on May 31, 1889. Over 2,209 people died and thousands more were injured in or near Johnstown, Pennsylvania in one of the worst disasters in United States history.
With the money it has received, the Red Cross has been operating shelters and offering food, water and relief supplies to areas struck hard by Sandy. To date, the agency has set up 472 shelters in more than 10 states, providing 54,000 overnight stays to storm victims since the hurricane hit. It has delivered more than 1 million meals and has handed out more than 60,000 relief items, including hygiene kits, clean-up kits, shovels and rakes. To date, the Red Cross has received nearly $85 million in donations.So, reaching from the Pacific to the Atlantic, we are not grasping for the next unthinkable disaster, but reaching for the next imaginable way to push the sand away that covers our collective lives during a tragedy. As Sandy stole two children from one mother, we are all grief-stricken, but like the Red Cross, we innately want to mobilize to care for the victims and their families.
As our history has been training optometrists who have practices all over America and in many countries, we encourage everyone to consider support of our very own who may need assistance in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Please visit http://www.optometryscharity.org/ofdr/ to learn more about how you can help through Optometry's Fund for Disaster Relief, administered by Optometry Cares®¬ – the AOA Foundation.
Kevin L. Alexander, O.D., Ph.D.