Thomas University dorms offered to first responders

Updated: Apr. 16, 2020 at 12:07 AM EDT
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THOMASVILLE, Ga. (WALB) - Our first responders are on the front lines every day during the Coronavirus pandemic.

While university students are no longer in student housing, the school and Thomas County EMA banded together to offer those dorms to first responders who need to self-isolate.

“You should want good things for good people and that’s what our community and our university is about. In higher ed, we change lives every day, that’s our job,” said Thomas University President Dr. Andy Sheppard.

Sheppard said he’s proud to help his community during these difficult times.

After spring break, the university transitioned to online classes and students vacated on-campus housing.

“And then like everybody else, we just watched the news and saw how horrible this pandemic was, and it just occurred to me one night that our dorms were now largely empty," said Sheppard.

Dr. Sheppard said he came up with the idea to offer the empty suites to emergency workers so he reached out to Thomas County EMA Director Chief Chris Jones.

“We had discussed this at least two weeks prior to being contacted by the university,” said Jones.

Jones said they were already planning what would need to be done for their staff if anyone needed to self-isolate.

“Then we were contacted by the university and was like, well, this is exactly what we need from a planning perspective and giving our staff somewhere that they could go,” explained Jones.

A place that has somewhat of a sense of home for the two weeks of isolation.

Each suite is equipped with a kitchen and two bedrooms.

Chief Jones said he’s grateful for the community coming together to make opportunities like this possible.

“The network throughout the community and people understanding that things may come up that are a little different, but here’s how we can help, and that really makes a difference in getting us back to normal,” said Jones.

“We have a highly developed sense of community, if you need something, we got it, we share it,” said Dr. Sheppard.

Jones said this isn’t a sprint, but a marathon event for the community. He said we don’t know when this will end, but he said you should continue taking care of yourself, your family and check on your neighbors.

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