Westmont College students return to campus one week after storm evacuation

Water remains an issue

Westmont students return to campus...

Montecito, California - Westmont College students returned to their campus one week after evacuating from the storm that devastating the surrounding community.

Student government president Benjamin Peterson said they had just started the semester the day before the heavy rain. He said the morning storm was scary.

They evacuated Tuesday and asked local families to take students into their homes while the 101 freeway was flooded with water and mud.

Services were cut off but the campus that is not in the flood plain appears unscathed. 

After thoughtful consideration Westmont President Gayle Beebe, Ph.D., welcomed 1200 students back on Tuesday night.

Dr. Beebe said his daughter Anna is the director of youth ministries at Montecito Covenant Church down the street.

She sent an update about at least 20 young people in the Montecito Conenant youth group impacted by the disaster.

They include sixth grader Sawyer Corey who lost her life, and a 14 year old who was rescued form the mud.

Beebe said the teen's father David Cantin, a scout master, was killed, while her brother Jack is missing. Her mother has been through two major surgeries.

He said this is dynamic situation.

"This tragedy has ripped through the community, the passage of scripture that has come to me at a time like this is from Romans 12:15 where Paul writes that part of our responsibility as followers of Christ is to learn how to rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those mourn, " said Beebe.

He suggested students adjust their mood and emotional register to those in their path.

Students listened to the chapel band and posed for a group picture before heading to their dorms.

They will still have to deal with a remaining water issue.

The campus has portable toilets and showers that are optional. There are signs inside the bathrooms that read "Flush, don't brush!, please don't drink the water-or-put it in your mouth."

A company delivered a portable kitchen to help the campus.

They will be bringing in drinking water and they are working to develop a water system. 


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