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NRCC students volunteer at Free Clinic

NRCC students volunteer98789798By AMANDA ALLEN

Special to The SWT

Eight New River Community College students recently volunteered at the Free Clinic of Pulaski County Inc. as part of a “capstone” project for their PluggedInVA Industrial Maintenance program.

PluggedInVA programs are specially designed to provide adult learners with knowle​dge and skills needed to succeed in education, training and high-wage contemporary careers. The industrial maintenance program requires that students complete 15 hours of on-site work along with their courses.

Tracy Brockenbrough, NRCC’s PluggedInVA program coordinator, said industrial maintenance students were adamant that their on-site work experience benefit a nonprofit organization. They were happy to help the Free Clinic.

Students spent a week at the clinic, working on a number of projects, including gutter repairs, electrical outlet installation, sink installations and trimming trees. Materials were donated by 84 Lumber and Hayden Electric in Pulaski, TrueValue Hardware in Dublin and Habitat ReStore in Christiansburg.

Jason Burcham of Pulaski and Chris Hoff of Radford were team leaders for the project. Both joined the Industrial Maintenance program after being laid off during the Grede Foundry closure. Both men enjoyed their work at the Free Clinic.

“It always feels good when you get to help someone,” Burcham said. He noted that the diversity of the work they performed lined up well with their career objectives.

“As a maintenance technician, one day you might work a building’s pipes, the next day you might have an electrical problem,” Burcham said.

Hoff said he has always liked to work with his hands, but he also enjoyed getting to meet new people.

Debbie Suddarth, executive director of the Free Clinic, was excited and thankful for the students’ help. “Knowing the clinic needed these things done is one thing, but actually getting them done is a treat,” she said. “I cannot tell you how thrilled we are to be part of this program.”

Suddarth was also quick to praise the students for their “efficiency and professionalism” on the work site.

More information about PluggedInVA programs at New River Community College is available through the college’s Office of Transitional programs at 674-3645.



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