Campus Life

Aggies Answer The Call For Help During Historic Storm

From finding massive water leaks to distributing food and organizing a donation effort, Texas A&M steps up during crisis.
By Texas A&M University Division of Marketing & Communications February 18, 2021

students walk through the snow at the Corps of Cadets arches
Aggies have stepped up to help others during the historic ice storm.

Jacob Svetz/Texas A&M Marketing & Communications


Aggies carrying out acts of selfless service — one of Texas A&M’s core values — have been unfolding quietly throughout this week’s dangerous ice storm, which hit Sunday with temperatures dropping into the single digits.

Many of the good deeds have come and gone without fanfare, but a few examples of generosity captured the attention of officials overseeing projects.

Hundreds of members of the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets answered a Wednesday evening urgent call for help to search scores of campus buildings for leaks caused by the ice storm.

Another group of cadets jumped in earlier in the day to assist with distributing food at Reed Arena, which was opened as a warming center for community members to come in from the freezing cold and dangerous roadways.

And the benevolence extended beyond kindness from students.

Sara Berrett, a program aid in the Department of Recreational Sports, took the initiative to collect warm clothing and other necessities to Bryan-College Station residents in need.

Dubbed Aggieland Relief, she is asking the public to donate blankets, jackets, coats (adult and youth), socks, gloves, bottled water, non-perishable food, camping gear, clothes and towels. The drive will be set up from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday in the Reed Arena parking lot next to West Campus Garage.

Scouting For Leaks

Will Schrank, assistant commandant for logistics in the Office of the Commandant, organized securing 300 to 400 cadets who turned out a short time later to help find leaks across the campus.

Brigadier General Joe E. Ramirez Jr., who is the Commandant of the Corps of Cadets, said Thursday that the water issue has stabilized on campus for now, thanks in large part to the efforts of these cadets who “answered the call and helped Texas A&M’s Services for Education (SSC) last night.”

“It’s amazing the great response we got from the cadets after the call for volunteers went out,” he said. “Cadets played a big role in stabilizing water levels on campus with the help they provided SSC last night. I could not be prouder of them! They stepped up when their university needed help.”

Junior agriculture business major Memo Salinas and seven of his friends were among those cadets who rushed toward the assignment, quickly findings one of the larger leaks at the grounds for Bonfire Memorial.

“It looked like a lake or water park with water gushing out — it was massive,” said Salinas, also an A&M Yell Leader. “It certainly wasn’t normal. We’re just glad we all could help in some way.”

Other cadets discovered more leaks, including a major issue inside the Coke Building.

Appreciation also came from Paul Tisch — regional director of operations for SSC, which is responsible for campus maintenance, custodial, grounds management and renovations. He said cadets were thorough in canvassing roughly 200 buildings on the main campus, excluding dorms.

“It was a major gift to have these cadets help assist the University when we needed them most,” said Tisch, who graduated from A&M in 1989 after serving in the Corps of Cadets. “We have been working around the clock since Sunday to address these issues caused by the hard freeze. I was super proud of the cadets.”

Aiding Aggieland

Ramirez also had high praise for cadets who have daily been helping out at Reed Arena after A&M opened the facility as a “warming center” for local residents who had no heat.

More than 70 residents from the community, including some students, took A&M up on the offer to find shelter at the university’s basketball arena.

The local chapter of the American Red Cross organized the effort and were aided by the Brazos Valley Food Bank who donated provisions.

Cadets showed up to assist loading and unloading items at Reed Arena.

A.J. Reynold, executive director of the local chapter of the Red Cross, said the Corps of Cadets answered their call for assistance in a tremendous way.

“During an unprecedented time in our community, every task assigned to the cadets was executed with care, compassion and precision,” she said, thanking each unit by name: Squadrons 3, 4, 6, 8, 11 and 20, as well as B Battery. “The caliber of character and work ethic of these men and women is astounding. The American Red Cross commends the cadets and the Corps for a job well done.”

Cadets also helped deliver food to Santa Teresa Church in Bryan, which was providing items for residents in need.

Media contacts:

  • Amy Thompson, Corps of Cadets,
  • Kelly Brown,

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