BOONE, N.C. — A collaboration between Appalachian State University’s Physical Plant, Athletics department and Marching Mountaineers helped sophomore Cameron “Cam” Hunter deliver 500 cases of bottled water to Wallace and Elizabethtown — areas hit hard by Hurricane Florence — in late September.
A third of the water Hunter collected was delivered to a distribution site at a volunteer fire department in Wallace, and the remainder was taken to the Bladen County Disaster Relief Distribution Center in Elizabethtown, said Bob Smith, manager of Appalachian’s Motor Pool and one of the drivers who delivered the water.
The operation was orchestrated by Pierre Banks ’07 ’09, Appalachian’s director of student-athlete development, who had been in talks with Hunter since he began collecting bottled water on Sept. 14.
“He (Hunter) spoke to somebody in his dorm who was thinking of dropping everything just to go and help,” Banks explained. “So, he felt like, ‘If she can do that, there’s got to be something I can do.’”
For Hunter, a biology major and member of Appalachian’s track and field team from Winston-Salem, the motivation to help those impacted by Hurricane Florence was inspired by a personal connection with such a disaster.
“I had a sister who was in Hurricane Katrina, so I know how hurricanes can affect people,” he said.
When the amount of bottled water donated could no longer fit in Hunter’s dorm room in Bowie Hall — where he is also a resident assistant — Banks found a spot for the water to be stored on the third floor of the Mark E. Ricks Athletics Complex.
Banks worked with the Physical Plant to arrange for a truck and drivers — which included Smith and Tom Graybeal — and Dr. Jay Jackson, associate dean of Appalachian’s Hayes School of Music, provided the Marching Mountaineers trailer to hold all of the cases.
With the truck and trailer parked in the Kidd Brewer Stadium concourse the morning of Sept. 27, the process began of moving 416 cases of water from the third floor of the athletics complex to the trailer.
Banks, Hunter and a few other students began by bringing down carts and pallets full of cases, and before long, a line of student-athletes who had been exercising in the athletics complex that morning joined the cause and — hauling a case or two of bottled water — made their way to the concourse.
Once the trailer was loaded, Banks, Hunter and the drivers traveled to the Boone Walmart to pick up 84 more cases of bottled water donated by the store, bringing the total to be delivered to 500 cases. From there, the drivers began the more than four-hour trip to Wallace and Elizabethtown.
“Elizabethtown was running low by the time we arrived at their site,” Smith said. “Both groups were most appreciative for the donation.”
About Mountaineer Athletics
More than 450 student-athletes compete in 20 NCAA Division I varsity sports at Appalachian State University, 10 for men and 10 for women. Appalachian was a dominant force in the Southern Conference for more than 40 years before joining the Sun Belt Conference in July 2014 — one of 10 conferences that are members of the Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS). The Mountaineer football team claimed back-to-back 10-win seasons and bowl victories in 2015 and 2016, providing a catalyst for comprehensive excellence to grow across all Appalachian sports while competing at the highest levels of college athletics. Learn more at https://www.appstate.edu/athletics.
About Appalachian State University
Appalachian State University, in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The transformational Appalachian experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and embrace diversity and difference. As one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System, Appalachian enrolls about 19,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.