Silver Knight Comes to the Rescue in West Virginia’s Hardest Hit Area
SISTERSVILLE – Jacob Lohri was shocked at the carnage caused by the flood in recent days.
“We stayed on main roads between drop off points. One thing we noticed was the water lines and residue left behind by where the water was rushing through,” said Lohri, a Tyler Consolidated High School alumnus, Class of 2008. “Tree leaves above power lines had a brown stain to them from the mud. Parking lots had mud caked across them. Cars had the same water lines on them and the evaporation process had begun on the inside of some of these cars. The inside of their windows were beaded with drops of water and fogginess. There were lifelong belongings on the side of the road in front of houses which had been salvaged.”
Lohri, 26, who now lives in Morgantown, decided to volunteer his time to help those affected by the flooding. Among other folks from Tyler County, Lohri joined his friend, Jeremiah Todd, who helped organize the trip to Clendenin.
“My best friends are still rooted in Tyler County and we stay as close as possible and they really put everything together and I saw the opportunity to help,” Lohri said. “I work a lot, so I don’t get to watch the news that much so my friends brought me up to speed on everything that happened. Not only me, but my friends have always been together to help those in need and give back when we can.”
Media reports chronicled the flood damage across the state. Homes were destroyed. Photos of swollen creeks and rivers were broadcast near and far. Muddy water flowed through small towns.
Lives were lost and many remain missing so much so that Tyler County’s expert Search and Rescue cadaver dogs were called up for duty.
Survivors braced for trouble to come, but there was help ahead.
“When we arrived to these drop off points we were asked if we were dropping off or picking up,” Lohri said. “As soon as we parked and opened the trucks, there were volunteers helping unload without questions asked. They knew there was a job to be done and jumped in and to help.”
Lohri said as volunteers were unloading the trucks and sorting the items, affected residents were trickling into sort through items and grab what they needed.
“On several occasions I heard residents asking for guidance with statements and questions such as ‘are these items available? And, I’ve never done this before,'” he said.
For those that couldn’t make it to the drop-off point to collect necessities, Lohri said he and others headed deeper into the area to tend to those who couldn’t even make it in to town.
Actions of the volunteers, first responders, law enforcement and others resonated with one famous West Virginian, Bob Huggins. The WVU Men’s Basketball Coach tweeted, “When tragedy hits, we don’t riot, burn stores or steal from our neighbors. We ban together and help each other get back on their feet. That’s why it’s called “Almost Heaven West Virginia!”
Lohri said the power friendship can inspire people to help those in need.
“Being around friends and them wanting to help radiates onto you,” he said. “We all choose to fight when it comes fight or flight,” he said. “I was just an extra hand in a friends’ plan and I knew it was needed.”