CULLOWHEE – Members of a Western Carolina University accounting class and their teacher were honored recently by the town of Clyde for providing volunteer services while the town was trying to recover from September floods caused by hurricanes Frances and Ivan.

Robin Black and her class of 20 students received a certificate of appreciation and plaque at the Dec. 8 meeting of Clyde's Board of Aldermen.

Black and students from her “Governmental and Not-For-Profit Accounting” class donated a total of 100 hours of labor for the town. To receive reimbursement for labor and material costs associated with hurricanes Frances and Ivan, the town was required to provide forms to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The contingent from Western utilized information provided by the town, including records of employee overtime pay and vehicle use and mileage, to produce the reports.

In addition to serving as a visiting instructor at Western, Black works as office manager for the Waynesville Housing Authority and is a certified public accountant with her own private practice.

After Hurricane Ivan struck the area, a town official called Black to ask if she could assist with the FEMA reports. “They said the staff was swamped with work and could not possibly do their normal jobs, all the flood-related work, and the FEMA reports,” Black said.

“The students were required to do a project during the class and agreed to make this one count as it. They were excited to do something that was ‘real world' and that would help with flood recovery,” Black said. “Many times people think of disaster volunteers cleaning, repairing, hauling and providing bare necessities of life, but there also is a lot of paperwork involved in disaster relief.”

All the students in the class worked on the project. Much of the processing of information took place on Western's campus, but five students -- Andrea Cogdill, Clay Kilgore, Keith Ledbetter, Cassie Parham and Angela Putnam -- also donated their out-of-class time by traveling to the town office to work, Black said.

Other students who worked on the project are Stephanie Armstrong, Jamie Baker, Angela Donaldson, Lindsay Ellis, Kiona Glass, Morgan Henry, Nicholas Iosue, Daniel James, Jessica Masters, Jeremy McCoy, Jessica Parker, Brittany Rogers, Gina Rogers Rhinehart, Tracy Shaw and Christina Sorrels.

The students' work counted as 20 percent of their grades in the course.

“I don't know what we would have done without them,” Clyde town clerk Joy Garland said of the students' work. “They were just a tremendous help to us. We really appreciate what they did.”

Maintained by the WCU Office of Public Relations
Last modified: Tuesday, January 4, 2005
Copyright 2005 by Western Carolina University