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CVM, President Young Honor Harvey Responders

Posted September 29, 2017



Dan Posey, Wesley Bissett, Dean Eleanor Green, President Michael Young, Susan Eades, Jonathan Levine, Bo Connell, and T. R. Lansford.

During Hurricane Harvey, a number of Texas A&M faculty, staff, and students stepped up to offer their services to aid those along the Texas coastline who were most impacted.

On Friday, Sept. 29, the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM) came together to celebrate the contributions of those from the college, as well as area and statewide partners, who played their parts in the recovery efforts.

“The entire college participated in the relief efforts, and while these challenges were enormously trying, it was gratifying to see how everyone pulled together as a team to help and support each other,” said Dr. Eleanor Green, the Carl B. King dean of Veterinary Medicine. “You all delivered care with unencumbered passion, ranging from simple acts of kindness to uncommon acts of valor.”

Texas A&M President Michael Young also expressed his appreciation for the CVM’s “heroes, in the most profound sense of that word” for participating in something that was only a part of their job by extension.

“You stepped up in ways that are just simply hard to imagine, not because there was an instruction to do so; you created your own orders to go out and reach out and touch the people who were in such desperate need. This university fosters that in the most profound ways I have ever seen,” Young said.

That so many students stepped up to offer their service not only reflects the university’s core value of selfless service but also reflects the example set by the CVM faculty and staff who supported the animals that are so often neglected in a disaster such as Hurricane Harvey.

BissettYoung“They do that, in some measure, I believe, because they see the example so gloriously reflected in those who are here. You are heroes; you are teachers of compassion and service, of reaching out far beyond yourself to provide service to others,” Young said. “I have been in awe as I have received reports of all that has gone on with the group here.”

Among those recognized were the CVM Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital’s (VMTH) faculty clinicians, hospital staff, and facilities coordinators who kept both the large and small animal hospitals going and worked tirelessly to accept donations of feed, hay, and supplies.

While the Texas A&M Veterinary Emergency Team (VET) provided the first line of response, in the week that followed, the VMTH saw the busiest three days in its history, having to bring in and build cages to house the extra animals in need of care, according to Bo Connell, assistant dean for hospital operations.

“When you hear about things like this, people coming together, it makes such an impact, and it’s something that I’ll take away from this, we’ll all take away from this. This was an amazing experience for everyone who was involved,” Connell said.

“Each and every person was involved in handling that caseload, in providing as much service as we could to the folks at the VET,” he said. “That’s everybody—the doctors on the faculty, our house officers, the hospital staff, the housekeeping staff, the animal caretakers, everybody who stepped up to answer telephone calls, accept patients, treat patients, talk to owners, and, in many cases, try to find owners for a lot of these animals. It’s amazing what each and every one of you do each and every day here.”

VET director Wesley Bissett discussed the team’s 19-day deployment, what he called a “historic event,” during which they provided medical support to urban search-and-rescue canines and resident animals injured and stranded during the storm, and the survivor’s guilt many of them, himself included, feel.

“I can tell you that when you look at the group that deployed, the group that covered shifts here, you aren’t seeing any smiles on those faces; they’re thinking about the people who are just beginning the recovery process, those poor practitioners at Rockport, which was literally destroyed,” Bissett said. “They are truly sitting here thinking we didn’t do enough.

“What you did, though, you did rewrite history; you made history. Our small team and this larger partnership, working across seven jurisdictions at once, literally from Corpus Christi to the Louisiana border, spread us thinner than we ever imagined, and it worked for one reason—because of your willingness to put up with less, to work more, and to just keep going,” he continued. “That is truly an amazing thing, and it’s very much an honor to represent you up here today.”

Among the statewide partners recognized by all of the speakers were the Texas Task Force, the Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC), the Texas Veterinary Medical Association (TVMA), and the Texas Equine Veterinary Association.

Other speakers included Susan Eades, department head of Large Animal Clinical Sciences; Jonathan Levine, department head of Small Animal Clinical Sciences; T. R. Lansford, TAHC assistant executive director; and Dan Posey, TVMA president.

Following the talks, the speakers were presented with presidential coins, and all were treated to lunch in the faculty commons area on the third floor of the VENI Building.

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