Not being able to cook a decent meal for his family, watch television, or even take a hot shower led Stonelick Township resident J.D. Woessner to bring his family to the Clermont Northeastern High School Sept. 19.
“This is what the whole family needed,” he said while eating a hot dog lunch at the high school. “It is wonderful what the school district is doing and it shows they really care.”
After realizing that close to 9,000 people in Clermont County were still surviving without electrical power six days after Hurricane Ike’s 80 mph winds raged across the tri-state, CNE superintendent Neil Leist decided to take some action on his own.
What he found, by talking to people and witnessing the damage firsthand, prompted him to close school for the whole week.
"The schools never lost power, but I knew that most of the district was out," Leist said. "I saw that many people had cisterns or wells in their homes and without electric, they could not get water to the house."
By Thursday evening, with no end to the crisis in the northwestern and northeastern quadrants of the school district, Leist decided to do something to help those still without electricity and the high school opened its doors to let people take hot showers and eat a hot meal.
And about 100 people took advantage of the opportunity, Leist said.
The school district, in cooperation with Petermann Transportation, provided hot showers in the high school's locker room, gave away more than 100 cases of water (even delivering some), let people fill up water containers, gave away countless bags of ice, and served hundreds of hamburgers and hot dogs.
Leist said that many families, like the Woessners, expressed their gratitude at what they had done.
"I think it was the right thing to do," he said. "After a stressful week, we needed something like this."
Petermann Transportation representative Mike Miller said that they were pleased to help out because not only do they provide the transportation for students in the school district, they are also a part of the community.
"We just wanted to help," Miller said.