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W&M Police Recognized in State and National Award

William and Mary Police, as a part of the "Hurricane Team," are being recognized by the Virginia Association of College and University Housing Officers, the South Atlantic Affiliate of College and University Residence Halls, and the National Association of College and University Residence Halls for their extraordinary efforts during Hurricane Isabel.

During the month of September, 2003, the campus at the College of William and Mary found itself in the path of a very strong hurricane. While there was some time to prepare, it was impossible to predict what the campus was in for. Because of the predicted severity of Hurricane Isabel, the college was closed and the campus was evacuated approximately 36 hours before Isabel made landfall. This is something that had never happened in the hundreds of years of history at William and Mary. A shelter was established at the campus Rec Center to house faculty, staff, students, and families of the William and Mary community. This full service shelter provided electricity, hot showers, food, phones, data ports, and various forms of entertainment including games and movies. In addition, a nurse was on hand 24-7 to administer any first aid needed to shelter "guests."

Approximately 24 hours before the storm hit is when the "Hurricane Team" kicked into high gear. This team consisted of campus police, student affairs staff, technology support, facilities management, and dining services staff. These folks worked non-stop 24-7 for 11 days straight with little to no sleep. The sleep time the "team" could get was often on the Rec Center or Police Department floors.

For 11 days they staffed and maintained the shelter, fed the masses, inspected every single room on campus (twice) to ensure safety, cleaned up campus and repaired damage, manned phones, answered thousands of questions, and kept the community informed just to name a few. Moreover, many of these employees had severe losses to their own homes and property, yet they still dedicated their time and effort to the campus.

It would be an understatement to say Isabel left a path of devastation. It literally took thousands of man-hours to get campus back to normal operations. This was not an easy task considering the campus did not have full power, telephone, cable, or computer services restored for over a week. While it is not uncommon for the members of this "team" to often go above and beyond the call of duty, Hurricane Isabel really separated the men from the boys...so to speak. The INCREDIBLE efforts put forth to restore normalcy to thousands of students, staff, and faculty is very worthy of recognition from these state, regional, and national associations.