Wilkes Rallies To lend a Hand in Flood RelieF By Mary ellen alu ’77
hen a swollen as west Pittston, where Goldsworthy ’76 hadn’t owned the home during agnes,
susquehanna River heavily grew up and still resides—the rushing but back then, the basement was only
flooded the wilkes campus river pushed into homes and businesses, partially flooded. when the water started
in June 1972 in the aftermath tossing about furniture, buckling floors to recede and Goldsworthy finally got
of hurricane agnes, an incoming freshman and crumbling foundations. the first look inside, he was disheartened.
named Bill Goldsworthy heard the college’s This time, the wilkes community got “It looked like someone literally
clarion call for help as the water receded. a chance to pay it forward by helping trashed your house,” he says.
with a group of Circle K members, Goldsworthy and other wyoming Valley Meanwhile, the wilkes community
he cleaned out muddy books from the families recover from the extensive was mobilizing, calling for volunteers over
basement of eugene s. Farley library in flooding. students, faculty, staff and the University’s Facebook page and by
a campus-wide push to get wilkes back alumni teamed up to work shifts, hauling phone. The University gave all employees
open by the start of his fall semester. out muck from basements, ripping up up to two paid days off to volunteer. amy
now, nearly 40 years later, it was flooring or tossing damaged furniture hetro, wilkes annual fund manager, used
Goldsworthy who was in need, as the curbside and into dumpsters. the time off to continue volunteer work
susquehanna River rose again to record “our town is in total devastation,” at the west Pittston library, which lost its
levels in september due to heavy rains. said Goldsworthy, former west Pittston building and 40 percent of its collection
levees built after the ’72 agnes flood mayor and former president of the from flooding.
held back the river in wilkes-Barre, wilkes alumni association. “It’s like we hetro says, “Because of the wilkes
sparing the city from major flood damage. went through a war.” employee volunteer program, I was able to
But in unprotected communities—such The water rose 3 feet on the first volunteer at the library to pick up where
floor of his two-story home, where the volunteers left off over the weekend. I
Goldsworthy and his wife have helped disinfect books, made arrangements
lived for 33 years and raised for a temporary library location, secured
their four children. They computers and internet access for this
location, and established a fund at a local
foundation to assist with recovery.”
Wilkes | Fall 2011
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wrestling coach Jon laudenslager ’98 Pieces of family history were already Check out our photo gallery
was among the first to contact the curbside when students arrived— of Wilkes students, faculty and
community service office to let officials his grandfather’s antique clock, his staff pitching in during ﬂood relief efforts
know his wrestlers were ready to serve. grandmother’s favorite chair. anything after the 2011 ﬂood at www.wilkes.edu/Flood.
“It was a no brainer,” laudenslager covered in flood mud posed health hazards
2011 Flood Facts
says. Community service was on his and had to be tossed, says Goldsworthy,
Heavy rains caused by Tropical storm lee
mind, he says, because of the service to deputy director of the governor’s
caused the swollen susquehanna River to
country of one of his former wrestlers, northeast regional office. Kitchen cabinets
spill over its banks. Here are some facts
army Ranger sandrino Plutino, killed had to be removed, as well as tile flooring.
about the ﬂood of 2011 at Wilkes:
in action in afghanistan in august 2011. when sophomore Megan heverly
• The City of Wilkes-Barre—including Wilkes
(see page 25) arrived with the student crew, it was University’s campus—was evacuated at 4
some 30 wrestlers volunteered to the mounds of debris lining the streets p.m. on Thursday, sept. 8.
help. at the request of wilkes-Barre that struck her. “You couldn’t tell what • The University’s facilities department,
officials, the wrestlers and others from anything was,” she says. “It’s so sad with some help from the Colonels football
wilkes—55 people in all—worked in to see.” Inside Goldsworthy’s home, team, moved ﬁle cabinets, computers
the Brookside section of the city. heverly bleached woodwork on the first and other equipment out of harm’s way,
wrestler shane everett, a wilkes floor to protect it from mold, as other moving them to upper ﬂoors prior to the
senior, was among them. “It was pretty students hauled muck and a ruined pool evacuation deadline.
eye-opening,” he says. “It was surprising table from the basement. • about 40 Wilkes students were guests
to see that just a few miles down the road “You’re getting them one step closer of the University of scranton during the
(from the campus), many community to getting their house back to what it evacuation.
members weren’t so lucky.” was,” heverly says. • The river crested at a record 42.6 feet
everett said students felt they were There have been some things on Friday, sept 9. The levees constructed
making a difference as they cleared homes Goldsworthy has managed to save. In after Hurricane agnes held. Communities
and streets of debris. “I was soaked in his file cabinet in his first-floor office, without levee protection experienced
sweat,” he said. “we gave it our all.” he found his acceptance letter to wilkes record ﬂooding.
Community service coordinator Megan from so many years ago, signed by • The evacuation order was lifted on
Boone encouraged students not to refer then-Dean John whitby. saturday, sept. 10 and the Wilkes residence
to flood-damaged items as trash. “we’re he dried it out. halls reopened on sunday, sept. 11 at 3 p.m.
touching people’s treasured items: wedding Classes resumed on Tuesday, sept. 13.
dresses, photo albums, the chair that • The Wilkes volunteer effort continues
Far left, wrestlers Myzar Mendoza, Michael
grandma sat on at Thanksgiving, Christmas Fleck, Matt ellery and Ryan Wilson pull up a weeks after the ﬂood. Collections of
decorations that you put up every year, ﬂoor in a ﬂood-damaged home in Wilkes-Barre. cleaning supplies, fundraisers and a
second photo, wrestler Ryan lynch and
things that hold memories.” special volunteer cleanup by alumni during
Philip Ruthkosky, associate dean of student
Goldsworthy didn’t hesitate in accepting development, remove damaged furniture. This Homecoming Weekend continued as
page, left below, Wilkes President Tim Gilmour Wilkes magazine went to press.
the University’s offer of help. he hopes he and Mark allen, dean, student affairs, get ready
can rebuild his home in time to celebrate to don gloves for clean up. Below right, a Wilkes
Memories of Agnes
worker shovels mud from a basement.
the Christmas holidays there with his PHoTos BY CHRisToPHeR BaRRoWs and The spring 2012 issue of Wilkes magazine will
family and new granddaughter. eaRl and sedoR PHoToGRaPHiC. feature memories of another ﬂood—the 1972
deluge caused by Hurricane agnes. if you
have 1972 ﬂood memories to share, please
e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wilkes | Fall 2011