BLOOMSBURG—A graduate of Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania and former running back for the Huskies is volunteering with the American Red Cross in New Orleans for the next three weeks.
Tyson Hale, an August ’05 graduate, left for New Orleans Saturday, Sept. 16. The son of BU football coach Danny Hale, he played football for the Huskies throughout his college career and graduated with a bachelor of science in biology.
Hale decided to volunteer in New Orleans after he saw the huge need for help. “It was a horrible disaster, and all I wanted to do was help any way I could. I prayed about it, contacted the Red Cross, got disaster relief training and signed up to volunteer for three weeks,” Hale said. He isn’t sure what his specific duties will be in New Orleans, but he said he will likely be working in shelters.
Part of Hale’s motivation to help the Hurricane Katrina victims stems from his own experiences with illness. He was diagnosed with a rare form of lymphoma at the age of 11 and underwent treatment at Geisinger Medical Center. He finished treatments when he was 13 and has been healthy since then. “I sort of grew up in a hospital setting and I know what that can be like…I feel like my life was saved and I want to help when I can,” Hale said.
Hale also feels a special tie to the city of New Orleans. “When I was going through chemo, a family friend was living in New Orleans. He sent me a certificate signed by the mayor and a lot of city officials, granting me honorary status as a citizen of New Orleans. I even got a key to the city. That really helped when I was going through treatment. I just feel a connection to the city, and I feel like it’s time to give back,” Hale said.
Hale said students or graduates interested in donating their time in New Orleans should contact the Red Cross. “You can make a two- or three-week commitment to go down and help. The Red Cross is so organized…they were down there helping out before anyone else.”
Hale is currently pursuing a career in pharmaceutical sales, but believes this is a good time to help in New Orleans. “I’m not in school anymore, and I’m not in the career world yet, so I feel like it’s the right time to go. I just like helping people, and this is definitely a time when help is needed,” Hale said.
Bloomsburg University is one of 14 universities in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. The university serves approximately 8,000 students and offers 65 bachelor’s, 18 master’s and one doctoral degree.