On September 1, the National Guard called first-year student Shawn Rose to Louisiana to work with the victims of Hurricane Katrina.
“It was a surprise,” said his RA, senior Juan De Angelo. “He was really enjoying Eastern, so he was sad about not being able to continue.”
Rose is part of the 56 Stryker Brigade, which is stationed in England Air Force Base near Alexandria, Louisiana. According to his parents, his company, Alpha, will be working with Federal Emergency Management Agency at food distribution centers.
“[His company] provides trucking for whatever adventures they are on,” said Rose’s mother, Roberta. As of September 10, the 56 Stryker Brigade left the Air Force base to go to Hammond Mall, one of the distribution points, according to The Harrisburg-Patriot News. They have not yet been able to go to New Orleans.
“What I’ve heard is that [New Orleans] is pretty bad,” Rose said. “It’s an immediate change from what it used to look like to all the destruction.” He added that he was nervous about what he would see in New Orleans.
“I don’t like to see destruction,” he said. “And I can’t stand seeing people hurt-emotionally or physically. I’m preparing myself for it.”
The night before he left for Louisiana, Rose’s hallmates gathered to give him encouragement and advice.
“He seemed really dedicated,” said first-year George Bayless. “He was glad to go out and do it. That was something admirable I noticed about him.”
Rose plans to return to Eastern next semester to continue his studies in elementary education, but added that he did not know how long he would be in Louisiana.
“The maximum they could keep me here is six months,” he said.
Mr. and Mrs. Rose also said that they are very proud of their son for going to New Orleans.
“As a mom, I have mixed emotions,” Mrs. Rose said. “I miss him terribly, but what better way is there to use your hands and feet to serve the Lord?”