Friday & Saturday March 3-4, 2006
BonaResponds begins the journey…
After a somewhat chaotic check-in, the luggage was finally loaded onto the buses and vans. Approaching departure time, the send-off ceremony began. Sr. Margaret wished everyone well, commending BonaResponds and all its members for their decision to volunteer and for dedicating their time to service.
Sr. Margaret put this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity into perspective, “When everyone else returns from Spring Break their tans will fade, but the memories you make on this trip never will.”
This trip is a tribute to John “Duece” Dlugosz, a fellow St. Bonaventure student who passed away in November of 2005. Still we give John’s family our condolences and share the sorrow of his loss. He was a wonderful guy and we will always remember him. BonaResponds is in memory of “Duece,” that he may never be forgotten.
Todd Palmer, a faculty coordinator for BonaResponds, also gave an emotional speech before boarding the buses. Palmer thanked each volunteer for contributing to a cause that is truly in need of help. Palmer is originally from Meridian, Miss., so it’s an even more personal and devastating experience for this former Mississippian.
On the road…8 bus drivers and 24 hours later…BonaResponds begins reaching their final destinations.
Palmer isn’t the only former Mississippian from BonaResponds who is returning “home.” St. Bonaventure alum Chris Filkins, class of ’99, also lived in Mississippi. As bus No. 2 headed into Long Beach things started to look familiar to Filkins, who hasn’t been back for 17 years.
Getting closer to the high school, Filkins was able to tell the bus driver exactly where the site was. The Long Beach crew is staying at Coast Episcopal High School where Filkins had planned to attend, which is about three miles from where he grew up. When he walked into the gym he immediately recalled the interview he had in the high school office years ago.
Getting settled into the hundreds of cots spread through out the gym and setting up sleeping bags in the “Tent City” outside, it was time for dinner and some relaxation. Filkins began to tell more of his story. Filkins is a research analyst for a non-profit organization through SUNY Fredonia.
So how does a research analyst take a week off from work to volunteer with his college alma mater? His boss graduated from SBU too. The renowned Bonaventure connection bars true. Filkins’ boss, Mike Jabot, class of 1986, also majored in physics. Filkins and Jabot not only both graduated from the same alma mater majoring in physics, but they both met their wives at St. Bonaventure.
Filkins is on this trip with his best friend Rob Tyrrell, also a Bonaventure grad, class of ’00.
“The friends I made at Bona's I will always be close to,” said Filkins. It’s good to be in the company of friends, because as Filkins put it, “It’s going to be a rough week for everyone.”
SBU Responds to Katrina
Countdown! | On the Road | Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5