UT System Salutes Officers for Hurricane Ike Aid

3 Helped Secure Medical School in Galveston in Storm's Aftermath

July 16, 2009

UT System recently recognized three UT Dallas police officers for their work securing Galveston Island in the wake of Hurricane Ike, the third-most destructive storm ever to make landfall in the United States and the most intense storm of 2008.

UT System Director of Police John Slettebo flew from Austin to Dallas to make the presentations. Vice President for Business Affairs Dr. Calvin Jamison and UT Dallas acting Police Chief Michael Tacker joined Slettebo in thanking Sgt. Angela Willis, Officer Kendra Penny and Corp. Mark Routson for their hard work, resourcefulness and commitment to quality service.

“These officers volunteered and were deployed to UT Medical Branch at Galveston in support of the recovery operations after the devastation of Hurricane Ike in September 2008.  The officers who deployed to Galveston also allowed the officers from UTMB to receive time off to attend to personal matters during the crisis.  Without the support of the officers in the System who deployed, the officers at UTMB would not have been able to take time off to be with their families,” Slettebo said.

The three UTD officers received certificates of merit and letters of recognition and were awarded limited-edition pins featuring a hurricane symbol. The three worked 12-hour shifts in rotation with officers from UTMB, UT Southwestern and UT Austin over a three-week period immediately following the hurricane’s landfall on Sept.13, 2008.

Willis, who is from Galveston, arrived on the island during Week One. She described the scene.

“Devastation and chaos. … It looked like a bomb went off. Nothing was recognizable. There was trash and debris everywhere,” she said.

Penny and Routson arrived in Week Three. Penny said they served in Galveston one week and stayed in a hotel.

“The water was not drinkable, so we used bottled water to brush our teeth and bathe,” Penny said. .

“You could see piles of trash next to roadways for miles, and a lot of ship wreckage still remained where Ike washed them ashore. The smell was horrible, mainly coming from broken sewer lines and piled-up trash,” she said.

Penny said she felt a duty to help.

“I take pride in providing service to all mankind, regardless the reason or the sacrifice,” she said.

Media Contact: Haywood McNeill, UT Dallas, (972) 883-4997, [email protected]
or the Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected]

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UT System Director of Police John Slettebo (center left) presented the awards to (from left) Officer Kendra Penney, Corp. Mark Routson and Sgt. Angela Willis.


The Hurricane Ike service pin

  The Ike assistance award

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May 22, 2018