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Duty Calls

Mt. Vernon Schools Superintendent Deployed to Support Hurricane Irma Victims

Writer  /  Matt Keating
Photographer  /  Keeley Miller

Sometimes a horrible natural disaster such as Hurricane Irma can bring out the best in people. Just ask Dr. Shane Robbins, superintendent of the Mt. Vernon Community School Corporation (MVCSC).

Dr. Robbins, who is with The United States Army and the Indiana National Guard, was recently activated in support of disaster relief for Hurricane Irma and was overwhelmed at the amount of cooperation and support he received from several different corporations and communities.

Dr. Robbins’ area of focus was the medical evacuation for Florida medical patients affected by the hurricane’s devastation. In addition to being MVCSC’s Superintendent, Dr. Robbins works for the Federal Coordinating Center (FCC) and is the Administrative Chief for the FCC of Columbia, South Carolina.

“Our country has been hurting for the last six months,” Dr. Robbins said during a phone interview on his way to help Hurricane Irma victims. “I’ve been very impressed with the amount of cooperation across the country. People need this right now. This is a positive way for people to come together.”

Dr. Robbins, a Fishers resident, has also been amazed at the number of entities involved in getting medical help to people affected by Hurricane Irma.

“We are working with everyone from The Forest Service to the Air Force,” Dr. Robbins says. “There have been a lot of good, solid partnerships, with everyone working together to help the victims. We work to provide the patients with vacant beds.”

Dr. Robbins’ background includes significant training as a medical service core officer. He has served his country in the United States Army and the Indiana National Guard since 1987. He rose in rank as a Lieutenant Colonel and was the Education Officer and Chief of Operations during the “Operation Enduring Freedom” deployment to Afghanistan.

“I’ve also been to Korea and Kuwait,” Dr. Robbins says. “But I’ve never traveled anywhere as great as the U.S. Americans really know how to rise to the occasion and help each other when assistance is needed.”

For the patients affected by Hurricane Irma, there are two levels of patient transfer requests for facilities, according to Dr. Robbins. The first level of medical requests goes through the Veterans Affairs (VA). Once the VA is inundated, a request is then made to the Federal Defense, and Dr. Robbins’ team may be activated.

“We will accept patents from Florida into Georgia, or if Georgia is not an option, we will transfer them to South Carolina,” Dr. Robbins says. “We will be located in South Carolina and coordinate patient transfers using military and civilian equipment. Every year we have an exercise with FEMA and the South Carolina Forestry Department, and we simulate mass patient movement. So, now we will be enacting the plans.”

Dr. Robbins, who is in his third year as superintendent of the Mt. Vernon Community School Corporation, said he thoroughly enjoys his job.

“I enjoy driving through Fortville every day on my way to work in Mt. Vernon,” Dr. Robbins says. “I’m very excited about my job.”

Dr. Robbins plans to communicate with his talented Mt. Vernon staff through technology.

“This is a unique opportunity that I have to serve,” he says. “I feel confident projects will move forward while I am in South Carolina.”

About Matt Keating

Matt Keating is an instructional assistant and tutor at Amy Beverland Elementary and a freelance writer. He previously worked for The Indianapolis Star, NUVO and Montgomery Zukerman (MZD) Public Relations.

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