Smith Assists in Superstorm Sandy Relief Efforts

By Cathy McClintock, Guest Writer
Fireman kneeling by truck.

Ross Smith at the Guardian Hose Company in Thurmont, Md. Courtesy of Guardian Hose Company.

By Cathy McClintock, Guest Writer

It should have been routine by now for a 30-year volunteer firefighter/ emergency medical technician from Thurmont, Md., but it wasn’t.

That first night, as Ross Smith, IT security, looked across the Hudson River from Jersey City, N.J., he saw an unusually dark New York skyline.

After superstorm Sandy hit the eastern seaboard, Smith and colleagues from the National Guard, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Red Cross, Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, New York Fire Department, and Jersey City Fire Department were called for assistance. Smith described what he found in New Jersey and New York as “humbling.”

The day-to-day work consisted of assisting fellow emergency responders in the Jersey City and Hoboken areas with providing both comfort and an immediate sense of safety and security to residents. With limited access to electricity, plumbing, and supplies, Smith was responsible for directing those affected to churches and facilities capable of providing food and shelter.

“You see people who had lost everything, and you just wanted to help in some small, little way. It was hard to look on all the destruction and really know where to start, both for the relief workers and the affected residents,” he said.

Smith’s colleagues decided to put a little extra “thanks” in Thanksgiving, and helped serve and deliver thousands of meals throughout Jersey City. 

Wherever he traveled in New York or New Jersey, Smith found people willing to help and wanting to make a difference.

“They would pretend it was no big deal, but you could tell they cared, no matter where they traveled from. You have no idea of the gravity of what took place—you just can’t fight Mother Nature,” he said.

Racheff Awarded Honorary Doctorate, Delivers Commencement Speech

 “Steal, Fail, Gamble, Doubt, Collude and Conspire, and Do Little”—this was the humorous and unconventional title of the Hood College Graduate School commencement speech, delivered on May 19, 2012 by DMS chief executive officer Jim Racheff, who was awarded an honorary doctorate of humane letters degree.

In conferring the degree, Hood College President Ronald Volpe highlighted Racheff’s professional accomplishments as well as his continued leadership and contributions to improving the Frederick community and higher education.

His keynote speech encouraged graduates to find inspiration in unexpected places, leverage knowledge from failure to create future successes, take calculated risks, challenge assumptions and the status quo, harness the value of collaboration, and give of themselves to others.

Helpdesk Assists with a Variety of Problems

Computer users at the NCI campus at Frederick may contact the Frederick Helpdesk with IT-related requests for service and support, or with any computer-related questions. DMS staff provides general desktop computer support, account password resets and e-mail assistance, support for applications, systems, and websites, assistance with suspected virus or IT security problems, assistance with purchasing IT equipment, access to site-licensed software, and information regarding PIV cards and PIN resets.

PIV card PINs and digital certificates can be reset at any of three NCI campus at Frederick Lifecycle Workstation locations: Building 426, room 159 (call 301-228-4500 for an appointment); Building 362, room 40 (no appointment necessary); or Advanced Technology Research Facility room E2212 (call 301-846-1283 for an appointment).

The Helpdesk is staffed from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. Users can expect most desktop support requests to be addressed within five working days; “urgent” requests are addressed within one working day. To contact the Frederick Helpdesk, call 301-846-5115, e-mail fredhelpdesk@nih.mail, or visit the website:

Cathy McClintock is training administrator, Data Management Services.