Valley teacher helps hurricane victims, brings home classroom lesson

Local News

Victims of Hurricane Michael are still struggling to put their lives back together. The storm came ashore just two weeks ago, and the cleanup is far from over.

A Valley teacher traveled to Florida and used skills from the classroom to help families trying to rebuild.

Dave Smith is usually using his saw to teach students in his construction class at the Mahoning County Career and Technical Center. But just over a week ago, he was using it where it was needed the most.

“It was really hard to look at – all the suffering. We all got to go home, they don’t,” Smith said.

Smith was contacted by a volunteer emergency response team called Heart 9/11. They were struggling to find resources to help rebuild lives that had been destroyed in Panama City by Hurricane Michael. Smith said he knew he had to help.

“If you have the ability to go and help people, get in the situation, then you really should,” Smith said.

Smith helped with things like cutting up trees and replacing roofs on homes, but their work stretched far beyond just construction. He connected with the people hit hardest by the storm and it made him appreciate things in his own life that he once may have taken to granted.

After his days away from the classroom, Smith returned hoping he could teach his students more than just construction.

“Kids seem to listen more if you do things and you don’t tell them to do things. Maybe they will think about themselves volunteering to help somebody out that is struggling,” Smith said.

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