The Daily Bulletin



Friday May 25, 2018

current weather

An Update from Dr. Miksa on the Sevier County Fires
November 30, 2016

(Updated on Dec. 5, 2016)

I would like to provide you with an update regarding students and faculty who have been impacted by the wildfires in Sevier County as well as the college’s response to last week’s tragic events.


As far as we know, six Walters State students and an adjunct faculty member were displaced by the wildfires in Sevier County. Dr. Jama Spicer-Sutton, Dean of the Sevier County Campus, and Treyton Williams, Associate Professor of Computer and Information Science, are reaching out to these students and the faculty member to see if the college can assist them in any way.


Our Culinary Arts faculty and staff have cooked hundreds of hot meals for individuals at emergency shelters and are on standby to meet additional requests for food.


As far as individuals in the community who have lost their jobs due to the wildfires, our WIOA staff, led by Donna Stansberry, have been working long hours, including this past weekend, assisting individuals with their emergency unemployment claims.


The faculty and staff at our Sevier County Campus, our WIOA staff, and many other Walters State employees, are to be commended for their tremendous efforts, compassion and service to those in need.  


While there are many different organizations to which you can make a monetary donation, two that have been recommended to the college are the Sevier County Fire Relief Fund at Citizens National Bank and the My People Fund through the Dollywood Foundation.


Dr. Tony Miksa


Walters State Community College


With the Sevier County Campus opening today following the wildfires in Gatlinburg and other areas of the Smoky Mountains, we stand ready to assist our students, faculty, and staff who have been affected by this tragic event. Dr. Lori Campbell and Dr. Jama Spicer-Sutton have been working with faculty to implement our academic continuity plan for students. Additionally, they have encouraged faculty to assist students beyond the continuity plan if needed. Keep in mind that students affected by the fires may also be attending the Morristown, Greeneville, or Tazewell campuses.


Please be reminded that the college’s counselors in the Counseling and Testing Center are available to assist students, faculty, and staff in need. Also, the Employee Assistance Program is a support resource for Walters State employees who need counseling.


To meet the immediate needs of evacuees and individuals displaced by the fires, Dr. Spicer-Sutton, our culinary arts faculty and staff and others have been working tirelessly preparing food and providing supplies to shelters in Sevier County. The culinary arts faculty and staff prepared and delivered food yesterday to shelters and are currently preparing over 200 hot lunches that will be served today at a shelter set up at the LeConte Center. They are also making over 40 hot meals for police officers.


Twenty-five students from our public safety program and four police academy cadets were involved in firefighting efforts yesterday.


Also, our WIOA staff members are working long hours at the American Jobs Center in Sevierville assisting individuals whose employment has been affected by this event.  And we are sending portable stalls from our Expo Center to Sevier County to assist with displaced animals.


We are such a caring and giving community, and many individuals have been asking how we as a college can help victims and first responders. At this time, government and emergency response officials are stating that they have enough supplies to meet their current needs. They are encouraging individuals who want to help to contribute to the Red Cross ( or another official organization, such as the Sevier County Fire Relief Fund at Citizens National Bank.


We will continue to monitor this situation in the days and weeks that follow so that we can effectively respond to the needs of our students, employees, and the community. And our thoughts and prayers go out to the thousands of individuals whose lives have been impacted by this tragedy.


Dr. Tony Miksa


Walters State Community College