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Fire victims thank students, faculty and staff for assistance

January 22, 2003

On Nov. 13, the home Cynthia Nell Ward shared with her husband and two children was destroyed by fire. "We lost everything," Ward says. "Everything."

But help was soon on the way. Led by Kelly Rouster and Gavin Roark, SGA members immediately began collecting donated items. "We started receiving clothes, money, food and furniture almost the next day," Ward says.

Rouster also called local retailers, who responded by donating living room furniture, a kitchen table, dishes, toiletries and even books.
January 22, 2003

On Nov. 13, the home Cynthia Nell Ward shared with her husband and two children was destroyed by fire. "We lost everything," Ward says. "Everything."

But help was soon on the way. Led by Kelly Rouster and Gavin Roark, SGA members immediately began collecting donated items. "We started receiving clothes, money, food and furniture almost the next day," Ward says.

Rouster also called local retailers, who responded by donating living room furniture, a kitchen table, dishes, toiletries and even books.

Ward and her daughter, Melissa Crowe, both students at Austin Peay, wondered how they would continue their coursework when their lives were reduced to ashes. But faculty and departmental staff stepped forward, offering to extend project deadlines and make alternate arrangements for exams.

"Everyone worked to help get us through the end of the semester and the holiday season," Ward says.

In a Jan. 8 letter to university president Dr. Sherry Hoppe, Ward praised the kindness of the Student Government Association and the faculty, staff and students of Austin Peay and expressed deep gratitude. "Our family has been the recipient of more kindnesses than can be expressed in words," she said. "Thank you so very much!"