Student Ron Gill on the Quad

When a tornado hit the Indian Lake region, Bellefontaine native and Ohio State Lima junior Ron Gill didn’t hesitate. He and his dad started collecting emergency items immediately. 

When the younger Gill took those items to the Indian Lake school, he saw his cooperating teachers working to put their students’ lives back together and he jumped right in. Gill is doing a 5th grade student field placement at Indian Lake as part of his middle childhood education program. 

“The main thing I did was carry in donations from the parking lot,” Gill said. “The community outreach was just incredible. There were more cars than we could have counted -- hundreds and hundreds of people dropping off donations of anything you can think of -- clothing, baby toys, diapers, toiletries, food, tons of non-perishable items. We just carried them back and forth.”

Before the first day was done, Gill walked more than 12 miles bringing donated items into the school. It was not until his dad called to ask if he was coming home for supper that Gill realized he had been at the school the whole day. 

He is amazed at the community outpouring of support and saw something in action that he had always known but not yet practiced. The jobs of a teacher include both looking out for the students and also the future of the community. 

“We would do anything for those kids and then as an extension, the community,” Gill said. “We were all at such a loss that we just wanted to help in any way we could. All the teachers there are very connected to the community and surprisingly I am, too.”   

Faith Cummings, one of Gill’s education faculty members, could hear that connection as Gill spoke. It was a hard lesson to learn and one she can’t teach in the classroom. 

“It's a learning experience because he didn’t just witness it, he experienced that reality of when a disaster happens in a school or anything happens that affects the district, whether it be weather disaster, a student getting hurt or whatever,” Cummings said. “All of a sudden, teachers realize that it not something you can write on a lesson plan and have a strategy for. Sometimes you just have to jump in.”