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Engineering technology and management student helps lead relief effort in Florida

Elisabeth Weems | Oct 2, 2017
Taylor Rowe

Engineering technology and management student helps lead relief effort in Florida

Elisabeth Weems | Oct 2, 2017

When Taylor Rowe learned of a community initiative to aid Floridians after hurricanes Harvey and Irma, he didn’t hesitate to join the nationwide movement to assist the afflicted, even when it meant putting his own career plans on hold. 

Rowe, a junior engineering technology and management student, drove 36 hours to Florida earlier this month with his wife, in-laws, some fellow community members -- and three moving trailers full of supplies including water, tarps, cleaning supplies and childcare products.

Although Rowe missed a few classes and the Russ College fall career fair, he said it was more important to embark on the service trip.

“It’s easy to sit back and say [school] right now is more important because it’s going to ultimately benefit me down the road,” Rowe said. “But if I look back in 10 years and I didn’t miss classes to help out these people who are going through something that will probably be hardest part of their lives, I don’t want to say I should have helped them instead of just thinking about myself.”

The effort, which took place Sept. 19-23, resulted from an overwhelming response by Meigs County residents and businesses to the local Bartee family placing an online call to action for help. Rowe jumped in, helping lead the effort to collect and deliver supplies.

When they arrived in Florida – overcoming wheel bearing issues and tire blowouts -- Rowe said he was shocked by the amount of damage still evident.

“There was debris everywhere,” Rowe said. “I couldn’t believe it. You could just see trees and branches, debris from houses.”

The group made stops in Jacksonville, Lake Placid and Arcadia, dropping off supplies to churches and warehouses for further distribution throughout south Florida. Rowe’s advice to fellow Russ College students: put others first when you can.

“When someone outside of OHIO or the Russ College hears us say, ‘create for good,’ they probably think, they’re engineers -- they must be designing something,” Rowe said.

“But when we say ‘create for good,’ we also mean for the good of humanity, and to go out and help others.”

Rowe is continuing to help solicit donations to ship directly to those impacted by the natural disasters.