MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Tuesday, EMS students from Dyersburg Community College used rakes, shovels, and chainsaws to help the Covington community recover following Friday’s tornado outbreak.

“I told them we would count this towards their clinical hours and clinical experience and internship, and they showed up in quite a large number,” said Baker McCool, EMS Program Director for Dyersburg State Community College.

More than 40 students showed up to help those who lost everything salvage what they could and throw out items that couldn’t be saved.

“Some of these students that are here today were actually on duty in this county or dispatched for mutual aid efforts Friday night,” said McCool. “So this is not their first time putting work in, in this county.”

All the EMS students who showed up to volunteer did so on their own time.

“This is not a mandated volunteer effort or clinical experience for our students. It was, if you can make it and are off from your full-time employer and can be here to help, we welcome you,” said McCool.

The EMS students were not the only group volunteering on Junior Drive. Andrea Vanness, the youth pastor at Cornerstone Assembly of God, had more than a dozen young people working to remove debris.

“We know a lot of people that just don’t have their homes anymore, and I couldn’t sit around my house or have our youth group sit around their houses and not come to help,” said Vanness.

She said she was happy to see so many students taking time from the classroom to learn a lesson you can’t get from a textbook.

“I believe that they can see the catastrophe of what is going on, and the churches around here are stepping up, and some of those classes are hopefully going to be held in those churches,” said Vanness.