Southwest Tennessee Community College

September 9, 2005

For more information, contact: Kimberly Stark at (901) 333-4023

Southwest Aids Katrina Victims with Necessities, Education
Release written by: Brenda J. Rayner

The forceful 165 mile an hour winds of Hurricane Katrina uprooted houses, trees, landmarks and, sad to say, even dreams for some of those pursing educational endeavors like Zachary and Josh Kissel. The Kissel brothers were students at Delgado Community College in New Orleans. Victims of Hurricane Katrina, they enrolled at Southwest Tennessee Community College (Southwest) on September 8, 2005, where they were greeted with the generosity of the items donated for Katrina evacuees by the Southwest family.

After seeing all the devastation suffered by of the people from southern Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana, students in the Student Government Association (SGA) at Southwest set up a disaster relief center to work with Hurricane Katrina victims that are currently staying in the Memphis area. Members of the faculty, staff and administration are also aiding in the effort. Pam Powell, coordinator of Student Activities and Multicultural Affairs/ Student Government Association Advisor said of the effort, “Southwest is a close knit community that opens its arms to those in need. We have had tremendous support campus-wide starting with Dr. Essex (Southwest’s President), who was the first to give.”

Mr. Kissel, wife Rebecca, and sons Zachary and Josh fled New Orleans on August 28, 2005 under a mandated evacuation. They found temporary quarters at the Super 8 Motel in Millington until Friday, September 2 and now have an apartment at Wolfchase in Cordova. “The utilities waived our connection fees. People have been so kind here. Everyone is trying to help us get on our feet,” said Rebecca, mother of the brothers and new Southwest students. “We left our home and we don’t know what’s back there.”

The Kissel family, by chance, saw the Southwest marquee (located off the Interstate 40/Sycamore View exit) while driving by the College. They had heard that local colleges were admitting Hurricane Katrina victims. A telephone call to Southwest confirmed that Zachary, a computer aided drafting major, and Josh, an accounting, major could enroll. The brothers were admitted immediately.

“Southwest is nice and very large; larger than Delgado,” said Zachary. “We want to thank everyone for generously giving. It really helps knowing that people care in times like this”

Zachary and Josh could be attending Southwest for a minimum of four to six months. Their father works for the government and is unsure where he will be assigned next. The Naval Base in Millington is the back-up for the governmental agency that employs him.

For more information on donating to Hurricane Katrina victims in the Memphis area through Southwest, please contact the College at (901) 333-5000 or visit the web site at