Haywood Community College


Contacts: Debra M. Davis, Diana S. Conard

185 Freedlander Drive

Clyde, NC 28721

828-627-4521 Fax: 828-627-4513

Date: 7-3-06

For immediate release.


Haywood Community College recently received a gift of two vans, which were donated to the college from the Liz Claiborne Corporation. The vans were given to the college because of the HCC Electrical Technology program and instructor Steve Kirton's volunteer efforts in Mississippi helping with Hurricane Katrina recovery efforts.

The HCC Electrical Technology students built 20 temporary electrical poles with meter boxes and wiring to restore temporary electricity to victims' homes in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. HCC Electrical Technology instructor, Steve Kirton, traveled with four students to Kiln and Bay St. Louis, Mississippi to deliver and actually installed the poles three weeks after the hurricane.

While there, the HCC team worked with Coastal Electric. They set 14 poles in one day while water was still two feet deep. Kirton says the most difficult part of the job they did was maneuvering around chaos.

As the HCC team set up the last six poles, Hurricane Rita was fast approaching. Even in wind and sheets of rain with evacuations beginning, they had the installation down to a 10-minute job.

"We had it down to a science," Kirton explains. "We were like a NASCAR pit crew. And the people were glad we were there. They were good to us."

Once local companies heard what the HCC students were doing, donations started coming. "Along with help from the HCC Foundation, local electrical contractors, building and electrical suppliers, and individuals opened their wallets to make this trip happen," Kirton said. "It's from the goodness of a lot of people."

Kirton realized that returning from the trip left him with a bigger burden than he left with. As a result, he and three students took another trip in May to rewire a home in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi.

"The enormity of street after street after street of people still living in tents is mind boggling," Kirton said.

At HCC, service learning is an active part of student's education. These hands-on experiential projects give HCC students a taste of what is to come in the world of work while it lends employment contacts, job opportunities, critical thinking skills, and much more. For more information about the programs of study available at HCC, please call 627-4500 or visit www.haywood.edu on the Internet.


Photos attached: (Photos by Debra M. Davis)

(Cutline #1:) Steve Kirton, HCC Electrical Technology Instructor, recently traveled to New Jersey to receive two vans donated to HCC from the Liz Claiborne Corporation. Pictured are Kirton (center) with the vans along with HCC President Dr. Rose Johnson (left) and HCC Director of Development and Executive Director of the HCC Foundation, Laura Leatherwood.

(Cutline #2:) Students enrolled in the HCC Electrical Technology program during fall semester 2005 built over 20 temporary service poles ( in background) to be used for hurricane relief in Kiln, Mississippi. Under the guidance of Instructor Steve Kirton, four of the students delivered the poles to Mississippi and actually installed the poles at victim's homes.