2011 Year in Review: Kate Guenther

Kate Guenther, Front Desk Coordinator: It’s August 23, and I am on the phone with either the 25th person or the 125th person of the day who is calling for advice about what to do with a baby squirrel who has fallen out of a tree.  Being August, we’re well into “squirrel season” – when squirrels in Virginia often have their second litter of the year.   As we are talking, I hear the woman say "Oh my God, we're having an ..." and just exactly when she says the word "earthquake" my own desk starts rocking back and forth. I respond, "Wow! We are too!" We agree to call each other back, and the event persists long enough for staff to come out to the lobby to mill around and talk about what's happening.  Right at the very end of the quake, I hear the roof of the building do a short crunch and squeak, then all is quiet. No damage ... except a piece of paper falls off my desk. I looked at the state map after I got off the phone that day. The most amazing thing about this event to me was that because of the timely exclamation of the squirrel woman, I got to sense the speed of the initial shock wave as it radiated out from epicenter. Charlottesville is in direct line halfway between Waynesboro and epicenter at Mineral.  She had felt the earthquake the amount of time it took her to say "oh my god we're having an ..." before it started here.  So cool. Later that day, the only patient admission we admitted that was a direct result of the earthquake came in -- another baby squirrel, patient # 11-2109, that jiggled out of its tree nest during the earthquake. Read about more "memorable moments" from our staff, volunteers, and students -- 2011 Year in Review.